10 devices that exist today thanks to the science-fiction movies and books

1. Google Glass


The 1984 book Neuromancer by William Gibson describes a device that is set into the eye socket and acts as a receiver for information.

The Alien movies show a helmet worn with a computer that swings down over the eye much like Google Glass. It just didn’t come in as many stylish frames!

2. 3D Printing


From guns to jawbones, 3D printing is evolving quickly and is even available for the home. Star Trek had replicators that could duplicate small objects, even food.

NASA is currently working with contractors to develop and send a 3D printer to the International Space Station that prints a pizza. Hold the anchovies.

3. Pebble Watch


Since Dick Tracy was first introduced to the public, everyone has wanted a wrist watch phone.

While numerous other models have appeared, the Pebble Android watch is the current favorite.

With a Pebble and a Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone, you can do more than Dick Tracy every did with his wrist device. You can tweet.

4. Mobile Phones


When Captain Kirk flips open his communicator, nowadays it looks indistinguishable from a mobile flip phone.

Add Bluetooth and the lapel badge communication device works just as well. In space, where no man has gone before, there are no payphones.

5. Tablets and Touch Pads


2001: Space Odyssey, Minority Report, even the infamous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy used devices that had a touch screen and were often portable.

These “touch pads” brought the computer out into the field. It took years of development to be able to play Angry Birds in the dentist’s waiting room.

6. Language Translator


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy also brought us the Babel Fish, capable of translating all known languages.

The Lexifone App for tablet or smartphone translates what you say into your phone into another language for the person at the other end to hear. It’s less messy than sticking a fish in your ear.

7. Earbuds


Even the lowly earbud has a sci fi beginning. Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 talks about a “thimble radio” that looks like a small shell that fits into the ear.

They didn’t come in neon colors but served to keep the person hands-free.

8. Invisibility


Harry Potter had an invisibility cloak and Star Trek faced the Klingons and Romulans who both could make their ships be invisible.

Researchers now have meta-material that is capable of bending light around itself so the viewer can’t see you.

It can be used as a cloak but also draped over objects and vehicles rendering them invisible. Waiting in a line at the bank was never as much fun.

9. Self-Driving Cars


Batman, Demolition Man and Total Recall all had self-driving cars. Google introduced this concept-car recently and now driverless cars are legal in California, Florida and Nevada.

Driving Miss Daisy would be far less enjoyable if they had used a self-driving car.

10. eBook Readers


Pick up a Kindle or Nook and you’re using a device talked about in Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 book, Return from the Stars.

Books were contained in tiny crystals that were read by a device that looks like a book.

A handful of crystals was equivalent to hundreds of book titles. You’ll never run out of things to read on that long flight home.