Forget the flying car - where's my food rehydrator?

Musings on fiction-come-true

Sci-Fi Bloggers 23 November 2012

Delivered: imagination to reality

Can we safely assume that Back to the Future had the inside track on technology?

Editor’s note:The following is an article by kitsune-san of Sci-Fi Bloggers. Sci-Fi Bloggers is an online magazine covering all things science fiction and fantasy: movies, TV, books, video games, comics and more.

When Marty McFly took the trip Back to the Future (into the future, even though he never went to the future so how he could go back there, which seems fuzzy...see, it already made me digress), he not only got a flying car, he got a flying skateboard. But the fun didn’t stop there. He got a phone that actually projected a video image of the guy he was talking to on the screen in front of him. And the person he was talking to could even send a document – wait for it – while they were still talking! Marty McFly saw a pimped-out version of Skype!

Can we then safely assume that Back to the Future had the inside track on technology that was on its way? I’m pretty sure it did, so let’s break it down.

“Hey, Kid, thumb a hundred bucks!”

Remember the guy collecting donations by fingerprint? Well, we’re not far off from that lovely technology in the present. Thanks to products like Square, we can now swipe credit cards on iPhones and sign for them with our finger on the touch screen. Hold the phone there, Sonny (see what I did there?). With touchscreen transactions going mobile, we could very well see a thumb scan transaction device completely replacing credit cards soon (and making us even more wary of the things we touch, seeing as identity thieves would now only need to snatch our fingerprints, or hire Catwoman to do it for them).

“Wait for Gramma to hydrate the pizza!”

Lea Thompsonís character hydrated a mini pizza into a steaming hot delicious-looking full-size version of the same pepperoni pizza that she pulled from a Mylar bag. We all saw that and thought how cool it would be. Well, how far off is it really when we already have those awesome “steamable” veggies? Cooking has literally become a matter of pulling a frozen food out of the freezer and putting it in the microwave. Do you have any idea what that means? We don’t even have to open the package to microwave things any more! We are almost there, people. That’s practically a slap in the face to Star Trek: The Next Generation, where you had to actually tell the food replicator the item you want and the temperature you want it. How complicated was that, right?

“Those boards don’t work on water…Unless you’ve got POOOOWAAAH!”

Yes, we all giggled at Jason Scott Lee mispronouncing “power” as he taunted the foolish Marty McFly for riding a hovercraft on a public fountain (I mean how dumb was that, come on!). And we all know the first-world problem of running out of battery life on our favorite toy mid-activity. Well, thank you twenty-first century for delivering the recharging plates where you simply set your device down and pick up another fun device while the first one recharges. No plugging things in for us anymore, no sir! (Now if we could just find a way to actually set the hoverboard down so that it would recharge.)

”Art off. OK, I want channels 18, 24, 63, 109, 87 and the weather channel.”

One of the best inventions the future has to offer is not a medical or technical advancement. It’s aesthetic. Even Marty McFly Jr. got the appeal of art that can be selected and even exchanged for our favorite television channels. With 7-inch video photo frames that slide through images of our choosing, we really aren’t that far off. Soon there will be photo frames large enough to hang on the wall and swap through our favorite photos, art, and TV. Here’s hoping that we also get Marty McFly Senior’s favorite channel as well: “Oh great, the Atrocity Channel!”

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