15 wild fictional predictions about future technology that came true
Peter Kotecki,Peter KoteckiJan 11, 2019, 12.34 AM
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Science fiction books and movies have successfully predicted many inventions that once seemed impossible.
The first lunar landing was depicted in a book from 1865, more than 100 years before Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the moon's surface.
Writers have also described smartwatches, atomic bombs, and antidepressants before they became a reality.
Science fiction introduces us to elaborate, futuristic worlds that often sound like nothing more than a dream.
But humanity has made incredible technological advancements over the past 100 years, and many of the ideas predicted in science fiction have now become reality.
Some predictions, like self-driving cars, are still in the early stages, but scientists and engineers have reached many other milestones first described in fiction, such as bringing people to the moon.
Take a look at 15 wild fictional predictions that have come true.
In 1865, author Jules Verne released "From Earth to the Moon," which described three Americans' mission to launch a spacecraft and land on the moon. Parts of the novel were similar to the first real moon landing, which occurred 104 years later.
The iconic Communicator device on "Star Trek," first shown in 1966, looked a lot like a flip phone. Though engineers were working on developing this technology in the 1960s, it took Motorola until 1973 to debut the world's first mobile phone.
3D holograms have been featured in sci-fi for decades. In 2017, an Australian company claimed it has managed to produce a hologram table that resembles the futuristic holograms from the original "Star Wars" movie.
"Star Trek" featured replicators that could 3D print food and everyday objects in a few seconds. Scientists are now using 3D printing technology to make objects out of plastic, metal, and glass, though the process is not nearly as fast.
The Iron Man suit has become legendary since first appearing in Marvel Comics. People won't be flying around in suits anytime soon, but the US military is developing high-tech suits that will mirror some of Iron Man's capabilities.
Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," which was published in 1870, featured a submarine fully powered by electricity. At the time, only mechanically powered submarines were in use.
Verne also predicted that people would one day listen to news instead of just reading the newspaper. He made the prediction in 1889, but the first radio broadcast didn't occur until the 1920s.
Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," a dystopian novel published in 1931, features a mood-altering pill called Soma that acts as an antidepressant hallucinogen. Two decades after "Brave New World" came out, scientists began researching antidepressants.
"The World Set Free," a 1914 novel by H.G. Wells, mentions a hand grenade of uranium that "would continue to explode indefinitely." Three decades later, the US detonated two nuclear bombs in Japan, hitting Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"The Jetsons" in 1962 featured a high-tech watch that could stream videos in color. While modern smartwatches don't have this feature, the Jetsons watch had a similar design to what we see today.
Nuclear physicist Jack Cover completed the first Taser stun gun in the 1970s. He named the Taser after a 1911 novel called "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle," which features a similar device to the ones used today.
Video calling is most often done through platforms like Skype and FaceTime these days, though the method has been featured in movies for decades. One of the earliest references, the 1927 film "Metropolis," showed an analog videophone mounted on the wall.
The first use of the term "credit card" goes back to Edward Bellamy's 1887 novel, "Looking Backward." The use of credit cards in the US originated in the 1920s.
In the 1953 novel "Fahrenheit 451," author Ray Bradbury wrote about "seashells" and "thimble radios" that resemble earbuds and headsets with bluetooth capability. Millions of Americans today listen to songs and take phone calls with Apple's wireless AirPods.
Science-fiction author Isaac Asimov predicted the rise of cars with "robot-brains" after visiting the World's Fair in 1964. More than 50 years later, Waymo and other companies are testing self-driving cars.