Know-it-All

The future is here

One fictional magic comes to life



"The Jetsons" 1962-1987

In the show...

The cartoon family, the Jetsons, navigate Orbit City by way of a flying car in the year 2062.

Today...


Aeronautical company Terrafugia created the Transition Roadable Aircraft. While it’s not ready for consumer use and trafficking the skies, Transition is a vehicle that can fold its wings and drive on roads, then unfold them to be used as a plane.

"Minority Report" 2001

In the movie...

As Tom Cruise walks through the mall, virtual screens pop up in front of his eyes, all competing for his attention to draw him into their stores.

Today...

Google's Project Glass prototype is essentially a wearable smartphone in the form of lensless glasses. The technology allows wearers to send messages, take pictures, navigate maps, and more via voice-activated commands. All this is slated to be out on the market by 2014.

"Fahrenheit 451" 1953

In the book...

Ray Bradbury writes in his classic dystopian novel of a device that helps users fall asleep: “And in her ears the little seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.”

Today...

Sound familiar? Earbud headphones.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 2001

In the movie...

Boy wizard Harry and his friends avoid losing house points for breaking curfew with the help of a magical invisibility cloak.

Today...

Researchers from the University of Texas have developed a carbon nanotube technology that uses the mirage effect to hide objects. These tubes have the potential to be developed into Harry Potterstyle cloaks. The technology is not yet ready for consumer use, but don’t lose hope yet, muggles.

"Back to the Future: Part II" 1989

In the movie...

When Marty McFly visits 2015, he encounters fingerprint scanners used to validate identity.

Today...

Now widespread, biometrics uses human characteristics like the fingerprint to confirm identity. Today, you can unlock anything, from the door of your local 24-Hour Fitness to some greek houses on campus with one touch of a fingertip. In 2010 some European banks even instituted biometric screening on their ATMs.

"Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century" 1999

In the movie...

The Disney Channel Original Movie features Zenon and her family talking on video chat via handheld devices in the year 2049.

Today...

Apple has made mobile video chat a modern convenience with FaceTime technology, available on iPhone models 4 and up.

"Toy Story" 1995

In the movie...

Space action figure Buzz Lightyear flies “to infinity ... and beyond!” thanks to a personal jet pack strapped onto his plastic body.

Today...

The Martin Jetpack, introduced in 2008, is marketed as a personal and practical aircraft. The Jetpack uses a gasoline engine and two ducted fans. It is said to reach a top speed of 60 miles per hour and an altitude of 8,000 feet. You can fly for about 30 minutes on a full fuel tank.

"Star Trek: Generations" 1994

In the movie...

Personal Access Display Devices were flat, silver, and let characters select what they needed simply by tapping the screen.

Today...

While consumers may have mocked the iPad’s name upon its release, this tablet computer and others from companies like Google and Samsung bear more than a passing resemblance to the space-age technology of “Star Trek.”