December 04 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Entertainment Year: General Rating: 12 Hot
Movies sometimes have some pretty fantastical devices which we find hard to believe. There's the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the deneuralyzer from Men in Black and of course the holodeck from the Star Trek franchise. But some movies contain nifty gadgets and technology that seem simple enough to build or develop with current technologies. I mean, it's almost 2009 for christsake.
1. Safety Foam from Demolition Man
In the movie Demolition Man, Stallone's character John Spartan gets into a high-speed car accident during an electric car chase through the future streets of San Angeles. Instead of smashing to tiny bits, a foam fills the car and solidifies, saving his life and leaving him totally unscratched. It would seem easy enough to create such a foam (there might be problems with people inhaling it as it expands) so why the heck isn't it in cars yet?
2. Cold Fusion from The Saint
In The Saint, Simon Templar steals notes from a scientist which, when arranged properly, show how to make cold fusion work. While research into cold fusion technologies is progressing, it's kind of surprising there hasn't been a breakthrough yet in the field. You'd think someone could at least prove that it can or can't work by now.
3. Spy cockroach from The Fifth Element
While development into cyborg spy-bugs is advancing at an alarming rate, it seems strange that we have yet to see the spy cockroach from The Fifth Element. The brain of it can't be that complicated, its vision is amazing since I can never seem to be quick enough with my shoe, and they can squeeze just about anywhere. DARPA, why are you lagging so far behind?
4. The Power-Loader from Aliens
Although the movie Aliens was pretty bad-ass, nothing quite beats the scene where Ripley fights the Queen in a Power Loader. With one of these bad boys you can pick up just about anything, knock down just about anything, and it's way more fun than driving a forklift. You may have even seen a demo of it in the movie Dave. It takes hydraulics, a strong structure, and some basic movements — seems simple enough to me. Maybe we'll see someone build it in their garage in the next few years.
5. The skin-stitcher from Starship Troopers
When Rico gets a sharp bug-leg stabbed through his thigh, it leaves a gaping hole that would seem impossible to stitch up. Thankfully the base had a skin stitcher that made quick work of his injuries. In mere minutes the mechanical arms stitched his leg back together again almost as good as new, yet here we are still dealing with needles and thread. Sad.
6. The Doomsday Device from Dr. Strangelove
The whole idea is to have some sort of safeguard that makes it so any kind of nuclear attack anywhere in the world would trigger some sort of nuclear apocalypse. A deterrent of that sort would make any kind of war with weapons bigger than a
7. The Caterpillar Drive from The Hunt for Red October
In The Hunt for Red October, the Russians have built a massive submarine which is capable of using water jets to propel itself through the water, making it virtually silent. Studies on this technology have been going on since 1965 and yet we can't get it to move faster than 15km/h. Where's our stolen submarine?
8. The moon colony from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Of course the most memorable thing from 2001: A Space Odyssey is the Artificial Intelligence HAL (more on that below), but what about the moon colony? Seems strange that people keep on talking about colonizing Mars when we haven't set foot on the Moon in decades. By this point there should be a moon colony, that's all there is to it. Just inflate some of those air-tight balloons and live in them for a few weeks, then we can get that out of our system and focus on Mars.
9. Fully automated factory from I, Robot
Will Smith in I, Robot, upon entering a fully robotic factory, utters "robots building robots, now that's just stupid." And while it is stupid if you're building robots which will eventually enslave the human race, it's surprising that no fully-automated factories have popped up yet. Another example is the car factory from Minority Report. But it won't be long, everyone might be soon out of a job if Marshall Brain is right about his robotic workforce prediction.
10. Artificial Intelligence from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Where is our Artificial Intelligence? We've been working on it for decades and still can't seem to get anywhere close to a genuine AI. Heck, I'll even take something like Johnny Five if we can't do HAL just yet. It makes one even wonder if Artificial Intelligence can actually be attained or if the best we'll ever do is just a computer programmed with every possible scenario it might encounter.
11. Faster than light communication from any space movie.
While this may be a screenshot from the movie Serenity, the idea can be applied to most space-based movies. Star Trek, Star Wars, Lost in Space, etc. Of course the best description comes from the book Ender's Game with the Ansible, but sadly (or maybe thankfully for some) it's not a movie yet. The idea is that you can communicate across any distance instantly with no delay. Radio waves are limited by their wavelength which make long-distance calls somewhat awkward. Since no one is really exploring space that much it's not too important, but you'd think it could be theoretically worked out through math by now.
12. Digital Sex from Demolition Man
Yeah, yeah. We would all love to do it the old-fashioned way, but think about how much more intense a sexual encounter would be if you had a helmet which could tap into your pleasure zone. Think of it as electronic stimulus for your brain and thoughts. People already know where pleasure centers are in the brain, they just need to figure out a way to turn it on (ha).
13. Custom drugs from A Scanner Darkly
The drug in A Scanner Darkly splits a persons personality but what about stronger and more personal drugs? LSD was invented about 40 years ago, and yet that seems to be the best we can do (other drugs are more addictive and expensive). Imagine ordering drugs that can be made specific to your needs. Sad? Happy? Going skydiving? We've got the perfect match for you.
14. Fake memories from Total Recall
Remember that time you witnessed a plane crash? How about witnessing the Tsunami firsthand during your vacation to Thailand? Or that time you fell off of Mount Vesuvius? Buy your dream vacation by tricking yourself into thinking you actually went somewhere. It's somewhat possible using hypnosis or brain-washing, but what about actually programming sections of the brain to think a certain thought?
15. Advanced skin-healing patches from Aeon Flux
There's a scene in Aeon Flux where Aeon gets a nasty cut on her body which she needs to patch up quick. She peels a skin-colored patch from her neck and places it over the cut, sealing it from further bleeding and healing the skin. You could always go with duct tape or superglue yourself, but why no one has bonded these to something like moleskin is beyond me. Are they afraid of being unable to remove it from the skin? I'm bleeding everywhere, I could care less if I can't remove it for a few days.
16. Human cyborg from Robocop
The only thing cooler than Robocop is Robocop riding a unicorn. While creating a cyborg rat is moving along quite nicely, we still have yet to see progress in the human world. With better body parts being built everyday (artificial hearts, legs, arms) you wonder at what point you decide to get rid of your old body and exchange it for an awesome one. Has no mad scientist used a human brain to control machines? Honestly? You mad scientists disappoint me.
17. Space-Laser from Real Genius
Lasers have been in the news a lot lately, and yet there is still no death ray on the market. Sure there are lasers for cutting things and even a few in the battlefield, but our soldiers still have to fire bullets. They've got the technology, what the heck is the hold up?
18. Gun Kata from Equilibrium
There are a ton of martial artists in the world, and yet few actually try and incorporate guns into their art. The only thing more dangerous than a black belt is a black belt trained to use a gun. You'd think they would teach Gun Kata to soldiers in the field or at least to people just for kicks. I know it's fictional, but it can be a reality.
19. STD-free sex from Logan's Run
Ahhh, the future. There are no STDs, you don't have to worry about pregnancy, and you are free to sleep with whomever you want. While most people in the 70's declared that there will be an end to disease by 2000, we're all still waiting. They confined smallpox to a lab, leprosy is on the down and out, and they almost got polio (thanks Northern Nigeria for helping save polio from eradication, we would have missed it dearly), but still there exists a ton of different STDs for us to infect each other with. What's the deal?
20. DNA-altering from GATTACA
Before the movie GATTACA came out, they ran a series of fake ads on television declaring that imperfections in the DNA can be weeded out with current technology. Using a fake company and a fake number, they received thousands of phone calls from people wanting to use the service. We've mapped the genome, we can alter DNA, why not use it on genetic traits? Sadly we have to wait a bit more for people to figure out what DNA sequence does what before they can start tinkering with your children.