Science fiction that predicted real inventions

Science fiction often introduces us to fictional worlds of the future that seem to be nothing more than the imagination of their creators. However, in just the last 100 years, humanity has made incredible technological progress, and science fiction has played no small part in this, being practically a bottomless generator of new ideas. So much of what was first shown or told in movies and books eventually became part of our present. 

Of course, some of the things described there are still in the early stages of actual development, and some science has yet to get around to them, but there are also many examples of ideas that have already been realized. So today, let’s talk about the things and technologies first predicted and described by the authors of popular science stories and now part of our modern world. And if you are interested in the latest developments in the field of games – will be of interest to you. 

Man on the Moon

In 1865, Jules Verne, the author of From the Earth to the Moon, wrote about the first human trip to the Moon. Some of the events and details described in the book coincide with the fundamental mission to land a man on the Moon, which happened only 104 years later.

Sending real astronauts of the American aerospace agency NASA to a satellite of the Earth, like the characters in the novel, took place in Florida. The command module of NASA’s spacecraft was called Columbia, and the fictional spacecraft in the novel was the consonant Columbia.

NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made a successful walk on the lunar surface in 1969 (the third crew member Michael Collins stayed on the ship). But the three heroes of the novel never set foot on the Moon.

NASA itself admits that there were other similarities between the novel and the actual mission of “Apollo 11”. For example, the space agency notes that the shape and size of the fictional spacecraft “Columbiada” are similar to those of the Apollo mission spacecraft.

The novel also described how the progress of the Columbiada mission could be monitored by people using a ground-based telescope. For example, when Apollo 13 had a major accident in 1970, the Johnson Space Center telescope was tracking the craft 300,000 kilometres away.

Mobile Phone

Let’s look at the history of the now-familiar cell phone. 

  • First shown in 1966, the famous communicator from Star Trek looked like a folding phone. Even though, in reality, engineers had been developing it since the 1960s, Motorola introduced the first cell phone in 1973.
  • Ten years later, in 1983, Motorola’s cell phones hit the market. The devices were big, heavy and very expensive, but the American company continued to improve the technology during the following years. Motorola introduced its first folding cell phone in 1989, similar to Star Trek’s communicator.
  • A few years ago, The Wand Company created a modern replica of the “communicator. The device, introduced in 2015, has an aluminium body and uses wireless charging technology. It also has Bluetooth features and some of the phrases from the “Star Trek” series stored in its memory.

3D Holograms

Science fiction has been telling us about 3-D holograms for decades. For example, Princess Leia asked for Obi-Wan Kenobi’s help through a holographic messaging system back in the 1977 movie. Since then, various companies have tried to make the technology a reality.

In 2017, one Australian startup, Euclideon, introduced a multiplayer holographic table similar to the one featured in the original “Star Wars” movie universe. Instead of chess, though, it’s designed to work. Using special glasses, four people can interact with the holograms created on its surface. 

3D printer.

“Star Trek” proved to be one of the most valuable sources regarding futuristic technology ideas. In addition to the communicator, we were shown here a 3D printer capable of creating food and various everyday items.

New York non-profit organization Mattershift announced the development of special membranes based on carbon nanotubes, which can be used to separate and combine molecules. Forbes cited the head of the company, Rob McGinnis, as saying that with such membranes, scientists can create almost anything from a standard set of molecular blocks.

“We’re talking about the possibility of producing matter out of thin air. – the publication quoted McGrinns. – Imagine taking one of these devices to Mars. You could create food, fuel, base building materials, and medicines from the Martian atmosphere and soil without taking it all with you from Earth.”

Computerized Military Armor

The Iron Man suit became instantly iconic with the release of the first Marvel Comics issue. Of course, people won’t be moving around in flying suits any time soon, but some features of Tony Stark’s high-tech armour may very soon be available to the U.S. military.

The U.S. Army is developing the TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) program – a robotic exoskeleton for special forces that can improve human capabilities on the battlefield. For example, in addition to high-tech armour, TALOS is equipped with a unique system of continuously monitoring the environment, receiving information from flying drones, as well as surface and ground surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.

The suit was designed to be lightweight yet very rugged, equipped with life-support systems to monitor the soldier’s vital signs. In addition, the TALOS is fitted with a three-dimensional audio monitoring system, which helps the personnel determine the direction of approaching enemy equipment. 

Rugged submarine 

Another science fiction novel by Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, published in 1870, tells of a fully electrified submarine, the Nautilus. In reality, at the time, submarines already existed but were mechanical.

A year after the novel was published, an experimental French submarine, the Gymnote (the Eel), was launched. It used an electric propulsion system and, in this respect, was more like Verne’s Nautilus than the submarines built before the novel’s publication.

Rosalind Williams, a technology historian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, once noted in an interview with National Geographic that the Nautilus was not much different from modern submarines, such as the Alvin, a 60s-era lead-acid battery-powered bathyscaphe.

Atomic weapons

Herbert Wells’ 1914 novel The Free World mentions a hand-granted uranium bomb “capable of indefinitely exploding. Three decades after the book was published, the U.S. launched two nuclear strikes on Japan – the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Describing the principle of the first atomic bomb, Wells even specified in his book that it would be dropped from an aeroplane and was horrified at how destructive nuclear weapons could be. In “A Free World,” atomic bombs were used in the ongoing war. On the ruins of the new, “liberated world,” the survivors create a world government seeking unity and opposition to possible future wars.

Smithsonian magazine stated that the atomic bomb depicted in Wells’ novel differed from those used in World War II.