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5 Innovations Straight from Science Fiction

Posted by Christina on October 31st, 2014

Every Halloween people turn their TVs onto reruns of Frankenstein and Dracula – and the video store’s collection of thriller, horror, and sci-fi films takes a serious hit. Next time you sit down to enjoy a movie and think “there is no way that would really happen” – just remember that reality can be spookier than fiction!

Here is a list of 5 innovations that could have been plucked from your favorite thriller and sci-fi movies:

1. Robots

Robots taking the place of humans aren’t as far away as  you may think. Researchers in England have constructed the first fully bionic man. He has robotic limbs, artificial organs (including a blood-pumping circulatory system), and even a brain that mimics certain functions of the human brain.

While the Bionic Man is currently only viewed at a museum – the home improvement store, Lowe’s, is releasing a robot within its stores to help customers locate items. Lowe’s robotic sales clerk, OSHbot, will be introduced to store in San Jose, California and will be able to collect real-time inventory stats, answer questions, and use a 3D-sensing camera to recognize products.

Of course OSHbot is not the first robot that has been released in the retail world – two months earlier SaviOne was introduced within Aloft Hotels to assist concierge staff and autonomously deliver requested items to rooms.

2. Internet Surveillance & Hacking

The notion of “Big Brother” is a common theme in many sci-fi and dystopian stories. Today, websites store your information to show you recommendations based on your browsing history, Google maps is able to locate you via your cell phone, every chat conversation conducted on Yahoo Messenger is stored, and even your local Startbucks will send you a coupon for your birthday.

Not far behind the idea that all your information is cataloged, tracked, and able to be viewed at a moment’s notice us the idea that less-than-savory characters can get their hands on your information.  *BOOM*  in a moment’s notice your identity is up for auction on the black market all because you purchased a candy bar at your local store.  A few (emphasis on ‘a few’) examples of large scale hacking that have made the news: Major retailers such as Target and Home Depot, and the largest bank in the nation – JPMorgan Chase.

3. Invisibility Cloak

Harry Potter received his cloak via inheritance – but in your life time you may be able to purchase one of your own! A Canadian company called HyperStealth Biotechnology is working on camouflage fabric that will make the user completely invisible.

This technology, currently being called Quantum Stealth, bends light waves around the user and removes not only visual traces, but infrared (night vision) and thermal signatures. Learn more about the technology and view some mock-ups here.

4. Lab-Grown Organs

Frankenstein may have been stitched together from dead body parts, but researchers and doctors are using a far less gruesome option for medial patients – by simply growing the needed organs.  The first human part was a bladder grown in a North Carolina laboratory in 1996, and the scientific community isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

By creating an internal scaffolding, doctors and scientists are able to bio-engineer larynx, ears, noses, urethras, bile ducts, and even noses! As this field of research gains momentum, scientists are working towards making a synthetic face and even grow a fully-functional human heart.

5. Windowless Plane

Within a decade you will be able to fly in a windowless airplane. For individuals who are afraid of heights or flying this may seem like a good thing …. but here’s the catch – the windows will be replaced  by full-length screens to view the world outside as you are flying over it.

The idea stemmed from discussions on how to cut fuel consumption in airplanes in order to bring fares down. By removing windows in a plane and replace them with screen panels, the aircraft would be much lighter and need a lot less fuel.

Our 5 not enough for you? Check out the links below for more!