We were listening to the radio the other day, and over the airwaves came a bank advertisement. Beside the usual pronouncement of low interest rates and free consultations, the bank touted a seemingly unusual feature. With excitement and clear enthusiasm that this offer would surely draw in new customers, the voice over announced, “Now with real, live, human tellers!”
It was at this moment we burst out laughing at the absurdity our real, live, human ears just heard. Do we really live in a world where human interaction in bank transactions are so rare, that they are worthy of advertisement? Suppose so.
Yet it got us thinking from that small nugget of humor – we really do live in the future. Sure we don’t have a civilization on Mars or flying cars yet, but the dreams of storytellers in the past are undoubtedly coming true. Surely it is just a matter of time before we have robot maids and flying cars, living life like the Jetson’s and enjoying our meals encapsulated in small little pills.
Technology has taken many steps closer to making these dreams come true. Let’s take a look at the fictitious gadgets our heros of the past had, and today are our reality.
Dick Tracy’s Watch | Apple Watch
Every kid wanted the Dick Tracy “2-way wrist radio.” And who wouldn’t…making a call from your watch was just as silly as making a call from your car. An idea ahead of its time, the watch was first introduced in 1946, and was even rejected by the first publishers Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould pitched the idea to. His employer, The Chicago Tribune, turned down the watch as a cheat. Fortunately other papers gave it a chance, wowing decades of kids through adventures helping Tracy solve crimes and get out of jams. The concept was exciting and extraordinary, seeming unbelievable to viewers following the famous spy.
Apple CEO Tim Cook thought the same thing. At the unveiling of the Apple Watch, he harkened back to his youth. “I have been wanting to do this since I was 5 years old,” Cook enthusiastically said. “The day is finally here.” Indeed it is, as the Apple Watch was released to the public in April 2015, making those with around $549 real life detective spies.
The Jetson’s Alice the Robot Maid | Mahru-Z
Judy and George Jetson made living in the future seem nearly unimaginable. This fun with fantasy cartoon series featured a happy family complete with kids, a family pet and even a bonus maid. Alice, the wise-cracking housekeeper, was not only efficient and a delight to talk to – she was a robot. Korean scientists may not have been inspired by the American cartoon, but they did get together to create Mahru-Z – a real robot maid able to fetch toast and coffee for its owner. While slow she might be, we are more excited for the snarky comments we can only hope are on deck in version 2.0.
Star Trek Replicator | 3D Printers
The sci-fi series was packed with unbelievable gadgets, most of which seemed too good to be true. One such device was the Replicator, introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation as a device that could create food or beverages out of thin air. In a giant leap forward catching up to the dreams of Star Trek writers, we now have the 3D printer. No, its creations don’t appear out of thin air, but 3D printers are currently able to create items ranging from spare body parts to jewelry to most importantly, the greatest creation known to humankind – pizza.
Computerized Batarang | GPS
Batman doesn’t get enough credit for the gadgets he and his comic strip creators have invented over the years. Many of our cars have similar features as the Batmobile, and a standard man cave now has just about as much technology as the Batcave. One invention that premiered in 1992’s Batman Returns was the Batarang. This handy device helped our beloved caped crusader locate enemies’ whereabouts via this location tracker. Today, this concept has taken steroids and is available to the everyday smart device user in a myriad of ways. From “checking in” on Facebook to Tinder locating daters in your local vicinity to actual location services that track people via the location trackers on most smartphones, we know where you are most of the time, evildoers.
Those are just a few of the inventions we have always wanted, and barely scratches the surface of what is now available. What are some of the inventions that were dreamy fiction in the past, but are today’s reality? Let us know in the comments below.