For anyone, the fact that many scientists and engineers are passionate admirers of fantastic works will not be a revelation. Books and films in the science fiction genre are an excellent source of inspiration for many people who want to link their lives with science. The most interesting thing in this story is that many devices and technologies that we have seen before only on the pages of literary works or blue screens, eventually embodied in reality and are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Today we will tell you about seven vivid examples of such amazing incarnations.
A device capable of real-time translating one language into another was first described in 1945 in the fantastic novel The First Touch by writer Murray Leinster. Other examples of the device can be found in “Star Trek”, “Doctor Who”, and also in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In the last film, the “Babylonian fish” acted as an interpreter, which was placed in the carrier’s ear and translated incomprehensible languages into his native language. Today there are several universal translators, and the name “Babylonian fish” was even adapted by Yahoo! For their multilingual application-translator, released in 1997. There are several models of in-line headphones (for example – Wavely Pilot), connected with smartphones, which are practically in real time able to translate from one language to another.
Voice AI assistants
Today, assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Alice will surprise no one. But there was a time when a voice assistant based on artificial intelligence existed only in fantasy films. The most vivid embodiment of this technology in the cinema was the artificial intelligence HAL 9000 from Kubrick’s “2001: The Space Odyssey” (1968). However, in the movie AI-assistants, as a rule, acted as antagonists. Another example of this character was the on-board computer “Mother” from the famous fantastic horror “Alien” (1979). In both cases artificial intelligence went against the interests of people. Let’s hope that Siri and Alice will not follow the example of their cinematic predecessors.
Who needs bullets, if you can shoot at enemies from laser blasters? For the first time, beam weapons were mentioned in the work of Victor Russo “Messiah Cylinder” in the distant 1917. The TV series “Star Trek” introduced into the mass culture such a thing as “phaser”, and storm troopers from the “Star Wars” always carried blasters (from which they could not get into anybody anyway). Radiation weapons leaked even into the series about James Bond. In the movie “Lunar Racer” Roger Moore’s character shot at opponents from the blaster. Today laser weapons are actively used and are constantly being improved by the military of different countries. The greatest success in this area was achieved by the company Lockheed Martin, which built the most powerful laser gun, capable of shooting down enemy drones at great distances.
Many laughed at Apple when it introduced the iPad to its tablet in 2010. But time has shown that this device has the right to life and many users had to taste. The first tablet was shown to viewers all in the same “2001: Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick. Tablet computers called PADD (Personal Access Display Device) were actively used by the characters of the TV series “Star Trek”. Today you can not surprise anyone with a tablet, it’s so dense that they entered our life with you.
I’ll never forget the first time Star Wars: New Hope (1977) was staring at the scene with Princess Leia’s hologram played by the R2-D2 robot. Holographic technologies in fantasy films were used very actively and the list of pictures, where you can see something similar, would occupy more than one page. In reality, holograms are still far from perfect, but even now one can say with certainty that scientists are close to implementing something that looks like a fantastic tape. The scientist from the University of Brigham Young, for example, managed to demonstrate a clear and very bright 3D hologram projected directly into the air.
Like a couple of other technologies mentioned here, the video call was first demonstrated to the mass audience by director Stanley Kubrick in his 2001 film The Space Odyssey. Later videotelephony was actively used by the creators of numerous films and television series from different countries. Today, technology like Apple FaceTime or Skype will not surprise absolutely anyone. But for the spectators who lived in 1968, it was a real fantasy. It would seem that some 50 years have passed, but how much everything has changed in our lives. How many wonderful new technologies have appeared. However, not everyone can appreciate this technological revolution.
For the first time the clock for making calls was presented to the world in the movie “Dick Tracy” in 1946. For children, even a toy was produced based on this film, which was very popular, although it did not work like a real communicator. In 1964, the watch of the famous detective learned to make video calls. But only decades later a similar device went on sale. Yes, we are talking about Apple Watch Series 3 (we do not take into account many Chinese crafts). Let’s hope that in the next model of his watch Apple will be able to translate and videotelephony, as Dick Tracy did in 1964.