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Posted 25.03.19

Ten times that movies have predicted future tech

Movies set in the near and distant future have been commonplace since film-making began. Filmmakers have explored the future tech of generations to come with aplomb.

We may not have flying cars just yet. However, many blockbusters made over the last few decades have been surprisingly bang-on when it comes to predicting the tech of today.
We take a look at the top ten bits of kit that were featured in movies gone by…

1. Wearable future tech

If you’re asked to give an example of wearable future tech in movies, anyone that lived through the eighties will almost immediately think of the incredible self-lacing, futuristic Nike Mags, as worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future II.

These amazing sneakers were made a reality by Nike as a charity-friendly PR stunt in 2016. The sports brand created 89 pairs, which were raffled off for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Everyone still has their fingers crossed for hoverboards, though…

2. Video calling

Video calling has been a stalwart of the future-set movie or TV show for years. The Star Trek series and movies, and other films such as Demolition Man, Blade Runner, and again, Back to the Future II, have all featured video call technology in different ways.

And nowadays, we can happily FaceTime friends in Australia, whilst skipping down the streets of Manchester, clutching our iPhones. Boom!

3. Self-driving cars

Movies such as I, Robot, Demolition Man and Total Recall all explored the idea of driverless or self-driving cars, years before they became a reality.

The technology is being tested and Tesla is way ahead of the game, with some self-driving models currently being used all over the world. According to the government, driverless cars could be in full use on Britain’s roads by 2021!

4. AI/Voice-activated assistants

Voice-activated assistants with AI or machine learning capabilities have been a regular occurrence in sci-fi movies and TV shows, long before Siri and Alexa came into being.

HAL from 2001; A Space Odyssey, Holly from Red Dwarf, J.A.R.V.I.S. from the Iron Man franchise and even KITT from Knight Rider all cemented themselves into our nostalgia, long before the technology became a reality.

“Hey Siri! Play…Avengers Assemble. And make me some popcorn…”

5. Holograms

Since Princess Leia was immortalised in hologram form, hidden within R2D2’s programming and sent to Obi Wan Kenobi of the Jedi for help to defeat The Empire, holograms have captured the imagination of many a 70s and 80s kid and let us not forget the walking, talking Arnold Rimmer of the mining ship, Red Dwarf…

In recent years, hologram tech has been used to project images of deceased pop titans including Tupac Shakur at pop concerts, using the latest in motion capture and CG1 technology. The tech even saw a hologram Roy Orbison go on tour in 2018!

6. Wearable robot suits

Full robot suits or “exoskeletons” were explored most recently by a great tech genius of our time, Mr Tony Stark, however robot battle suits, or wearable robot tech, have also featured in movies such as Avatar and Pacific Rim.

Suits such as these are absolutely becoming a reality, with Japanese and European companies currently exhibiting prototypes and inventions for wearable robotics projects.

7. Touch interface/hand gesture computing

Another Tony Stark hallmark which has featured in other movies such as Minority Report, is the touch interface computing system, which uses hand gestures to move things around, switch programmes and generally look pretty fly.

Elon Musk himself has taken on this tech and with inspiration from the Iron Man movies made a touch interface system back in 2013 to design rockets.

8. Instant translators

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy brought us the Babelfish, a mysterious alien fish that could perform instant translations by feeding on brain wave energy.

And, very recently, Google has added an instant feature to its long-standing Google Translate service. People can now have real-time conversations in an incredible 27 different languages.

The App Store is full of similar apps – like Converse, the Instant Translator!

9. Smart watches

Back in the eighties and nineties, wearing a smart computer on your wrist containing more advanced tech than the rockets used to take man to the moon was still pretty pie in the sky…
Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond, Agent K in Men in Black and James Tiberius Kirk all sported smartwatches. This was before they became the timepiece of choice for the millennial generation.

However, the Apple Watch is more than Ian Fleming could have ever dreamt. With an optical heart sensor, the Apple Watch has saved lives by detecting signs of bradycardia. We can’t wait to see it continue to evolve!

10. Digital billboards

Digital display advertisements have, again, featured heavily in futuristic movies, such as Blade Runner and Back to the Future II. However, what was impressive several decades ago is now commonplace.

Big brands regularly try to outdo each other using interactive features. These include touch screens, LED projections and moving elements to bring their products and services to life via digital billboards and outdoor advertising. And, future tech moves arrives in leaps and bounds, we can expect to see even more creative installations in the future.

We’ve even gone beyond that – just check out these incredible LG screens!


You don’t have to dream about future tech – it’s already here. Shop our range of Apple products today.

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