3D printing changed the world. You’ve probably seen news reports of people getting prosthetic arms using a 3D printer. You can even go online, shop for a prosthetic arm, and have it shipped to your house. This technological advancement opened an entire world of possibilities. Someone didn’t only recently think of this billion-dollar idea. The 1985 film Weird Science printed a woman based on images they fed into a computer. This is exactly what 3D printing does, to put it simply. Those two guys in the movie were onto something. The movie makes it seem simple, but there’s a lot more to it than using an image and pressing a button. Nowadays, 3D printing is valued at $35.6 billion (Unlimited Tomorrow).
Eye candy comes in all shapes and sizes, and that includes LED billboards advertising a new product or food. It wasn’t always bright colors and flashing lights, though. Movies like Total Recall and Minority Report portrayed scenes with flashy backdrops. But it wasn’t until Blade Runnerthat truly had an impact on the digital advertising world. This 1982 film was ahead of its time, especially in the marketing world. They probably made all of those well-off advertisers look like imbeciles once they thought of their digital billboards flying around aerodynamic vehicles. How can you beat that? You’re probably used to those simple billboards along the side of Route 66, not some flashy, eye-catching sign on a flying car. Even though we’re not that advanced, we’re almost there. In 2007, a company called Watchfire Signs installed the first digital billboards in the USA (The Richest)
The idea of a smartwatch may seem like a recent development, but it has actually been around for decades. The concept was first seen in the 1979 TV show Star Trek, where the crew of the USS Enterprise used wristwatch variations of their communicators to talk with each other. This idea eventually led to the creation of modern-day smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, which allows us to text, call, and check our email. Apple has even admitted that the show served as an inspiration for their smartwatch. But the idea of a wrist-worn device isn’t new, it was also seen in the comic strip Dick Tracy, where the main character uses a two-way wrist TV, but it wasn’t until Star Trek came out that it caught on in a bigger way. The show has been a source of inspiration for many technological advancements in modern times (The Richest).
Self-Driving Dreams: From Science Fiction to Reality
The thought of hopping into a driverless vehicle and letting it take the wheel sounds like a dream come true, especially on those long, tedious road trips. But the idea of self-driving cars isn’t something that just came out of nowhere. Oh no, it’s been brewing in the minds of science fiction enthusiasts for decades. Inspired by movies like iRobot and Total Recall, where the directors envisioned a world with no car accidents or wasted time in traffic, the concept of self-driving cars has slowly but surely become a reality. Honda is now releasing level 3 autonomous cars, known as ADS, which will make your jaw drop. And let’s not forget about Google’s testing of Waymo, the “world’s most experienced driver.” Sure, it may be a while before these cars are at your local dealer, but in the meantime, we can all keep dreaming of a future where autopilot is just a funny memory (The Tempest).
No More Doctor Pricks Thanks To Handheld Medical Diagnostics
Star Trek makes another appearance on this list. You’re probably kicking yourself about not having been the first person to think of a billion-dollar idea, especially if you’re a hardcore Star Trek fan. In the movie’s universe, the medical officers carry around devices called tricorders, which collect medical data from the patient. A database processed the information and delivers an easy diagnosis. In theory, they receive treatment based on this diagnosis. Since this movie, inventors created tricorders. A company called Qualcomm organized a competition to create the first tricorder. Because of the movie’s influence and the competition, the noninvasive device was born. A family-led team from Pennsylvania won the competition. They named their device the Final Frontier Medical Device and won $2.5 million, and it monitors your health and diagnoses illnesses from the comfort of your home (IFL Science).
Star Trek should possibly win a Nobel Prize for inspiring so many inventions. Another tool used by the communicators in space was the hypospray. Without the need for a needle for injection, this device delivered medicine through the skin. The user could program the machine to deliver any medication the patient needed. At MIT, scientists developed a needless injection system in much the same way the hypospray works in Star Trek. The billion-dollar idea was inspired by the series. The device uses extremely high pressure to deliver liquid medication. Without using a needle, it penetrates the skin. It helps lessen anxiety and pain in patients who fear needles. If you’re one of these people, this could change your life. You can finally say no to needles (News MIT).
In Back to the Future II, we saw technology that was way ahead of its time. The movie directors came up with brilliant ideas that soon became billion-dollar ideas. Even though there were numerous tech devices in this movie, there was one in particular that stood out to inventors and viewers alike. You were probably one of many who gawked in awe at the hoverboards, as the 1985 film showed riders hovering around their city like they were floating in the air. Even though Segways don’t hover above the ground, they certainly come close. They’re self-balancing devices that are worth $3.34 billion and come as close as you can get to Marty’s hoverboard. We don’t have to warn you not to try and grab onto a car and escape from your worst enemies but don’t try that at home (Luxurist)
Frankenstein Was The First Genetically Modified Organism
Without GMOs, we wouldn’t have certain fruits and vegetables. Thanks to modern gene manipulation and cross-breeding, we can enjoy a variety of food that we normally wouldn’t. And before you start preaching about how bad GMO food is for you, we’re going to let you in on a little secret. That papaya you have on your breakfast plate? It’s genetically modified! GMO actually saved the papaya. Now, altering genes dates back tens of thousands of years, but it wasn’t until 1931 that Frankenstein came out that tackled the matter, first hand. In short, Frankenstein is a genetically-modified organism thanks to bioengineering. The movie stars Boris Karloff and was the first of its kind to shed light on the matter, based on Mary Shelley’s novel (The Richest).
Wireless headphones made our lives much easier. Tangled headphone wires or unknotting our headphones is frustrating. It took a lot of time and caused too much frustration, for what it’s worth. Thanks to Star Trek, yet again, the development of Bluetooth helped us stick our headphones in our ears and shut out the world. Lieutenant Uhura wore a device in her ear. This allowed her to communicate through space. Then, all the officers in the following episodes wore a device called a communicator on their uniforms. Despite the huge distances, they could easily communicate with one another. The Bluetooth devices we wear in our ears are eerily similar to the one Lieutenant Uhura wore in her ear. ThinkGeek even took it so far as to create a Bluetooth device in the same form as the one from the movie (The Tempest)
Are you ready for another mind-blowing revelation about the technological predictions of Star Trek? It’s beginning to feel like the show was more than just entertainment, it was a glimpse into the future. The communicators used by the crew on the show were a major inspiration for the mobile phones we use today. The characters on the show were constantly using these portable devices to communicate with each other during their intergalactic adventures, and even had universal translators. Martin Cooper, the man credited with leading the team that built the first cellular device and making the first call in 1973, even acknowledged the influence of Star Trek on his work. Although he claims his work on the cell phone began before the show aired, it’s hard to deny the similarities. Was the entire show just a group of time travelers sharing their future tech with us? Who knows (Movie Web).
How many times have you told your friends you wish you could teleport? All you’d have to do is press a button and your body would fly through time and space, and end up in a completely different country. Or planet. Better yet, it could transport us into a virtual world where everything and anything is possible. There are no rules. This theory of virtual reality was common in movies like The Matrix and Surrogates.Characters in these movies plug their bodies into outlandish, complex chairs that connect their bodies and minds to a reality other than ours. In other movies, like Hackers, the characters put headsets over their eyes and enter a virtual world. While it may have seemed like a farfetched idea, Samsung recently released its billion-dollar virtual reality headset. Oculus Rift replicates real-life places and sends the wearer anywhere in the world. If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Tokyo or riding a rollercoaster in a foreign country, now is your chance. Your dreams just became your (virtual) reality (Oculus).
Star Trek Could Have Given A Glimpse At The Future Of Invisibility
In Star Trek, enemy vessels become invisible to Federation tracking technology. To accomplish this, radar signals bounce off the B2’s hull in different directions, deeming them impossible to track down by hostile forces. You’re probably thinking about all those times in high school when you embarrassed yourself in front of your crush. In those moments, we needed an invisible cloak. This technology is not far from becoming our reality, with the upcoming billion-dollar B-21 planes. These planes have signal-absorbent materials and lower heat signatures that nearly replicate those seen in Star Trek. We may see those bat-shaped B2 Spirit stealth bombers flying across our skies in a matter of time. Should we worry? (The Richest)
The cosmic fantasy world of Star Wars had more influence on technology than on scientists themselves. That says a lot. In the opening sequence of the first ever Star Wars in 1977, a holograph of Princess Leia inserted a device of military secrets into the R2D2 android. Wait, did we say holograph? That’s a far-fetched idea for a movie from the 1970s, but it seems that Star Wars was onto something. Almost as influential as Star Trek, these movies helped influence the billion-dollar idea of holographic projections. In the 1970s, holographic technology was still in a primitive two-dimensional phase, but by 2012, we saw a holographic projection of Tupac Shakur at Coachella. Following the event, we saw holographic concerts with Whitney Houston and ABBA. Even though it’s 2023, we still have a long way to go, although, by the looks of things, it might not be much longer until a holograph version of your grandmother is standing in your kitchen baking cookies (The Richest)
When it comes to space battles in movies, it’s all about the “pew pew” of laser weapons. From Battlestar Galactica to Ender’s Game, these energy weapons have been a staple in science fiction. But it’s not just in movies, the US Navy is now working on technology to make these energy weapons a reality. They are working on developing lasers that are more powerful and precise to attack and destroy missiles, aircrafts, drones, and other airborne objects that pose a threat. It’s not something that will be available to the average person, but it’s exciting to see that this technology is on its way to becoming a reality. The Navy hopes to release these lasers within a year, so get ready for some real-life space battles (Business Insider).
From bulky to barely noticeable, the evolution of earphones has been tremendous. What started as large earphones draping your head and adding another layer to your skull has become a small piece of technology barely noticeable in our ears. But the billion-dollar idea of Apple’s AirPods dates back to the 1960s, from the movie Fahrenheit 451. In the story, since the movie is based on a book, earbuds looked horrendous but quite useful. Character Montag described the earbuds as looking like a “seashell radio,” since the earbuds were way beyond the technology of their time. Now, AirPods have a projected market value of $15.8 billion. You can thank Fahrenheit 451 for your ability to have music on the go (Cram).
How Iron Man’s Interactive Computer Redefined Tech Interaction
Iron Man’s interactive computer, J.A.R.V.I.S, is the stuff of tech-lovers’ dreams. The advanced interface seen in Iron Man 2 gave us a glimpse of what technology could become. The computer in the movie is able to handle all internal systems in the building and the Iron Man suits using natural language processing, reinforcement learning, speech recognition, and face recognition. It’s like Siri on steroids. A similar technology is also seen in Minority Report, where the protagonist uses activated computer screens. This idea was not only limited to movies, it was also applied in gaming systems like the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect. Both of these gaming systems use sensor bars that pick up on the user’s movements and apply them to the game. The interactive computer technology seen in these movies became a billion-dollar idea and changed the way we interact with technology (YouTube).