Some of our great modern inventions were born years ago in the minds of creative writers and artists. Learn about the ways that science fiction has impacted our reality.
Cell phone technology inventor Martin Cooper credits his inspiration for the idea to Star Trek’s handheld communicators.
Video phone calls
Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis introduced the idea of face-to-face phone calls, long before technology like Skype and Facetime made it an everyday occurrence.
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the Babel Fish can be inserted in one’s ear in order to translate any language into the wearer’s native tongue. While not wearable yet, and certainly not in fish form, Google Translate now gives easy access to communication in just about any language.
The Dick Tracy cartoons from the 1940’s included a watch that the detective could speak into and receive quick updates from. Modern day smartwatches allow us to text, check the internet, and track our fitness from our wrists.
Star Trek replicators produced food, spare parts, or whatever was needed out of thin air. While modern 3d printers can’t quite do that, they can make just about anything, including chocolate.
The credit card
The 1888 Edward Bellamy novel Looking Backward predicted a future utopia where people could make purchases with a card rather than cash. Of course, this is now an everyday occurrence, with cards becoming more common than cash.
Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 541 included descriptions of tiny headphones, much smaller than the technology available at the time, and similar to the earbuds we regularly use now.
Travel to the moon
Jules Verne’s 1865 From the Earth to the Moon proposes a cannon to shoot men to the moon, with eerily accurate computations of the amount of force required, long before the actual 1969 moon landing.
Isaac Asimov’s 1953 story Sally is about a self-driving vehicle, one of the earliest mentions of such a vehicle in literature. Now car makers across the world are working diligently to make self-driving vehicles mainstream.