In the second part of the "Back to the Future" trilogy, released in 1989, Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel back in time to a specific date in the future: October 21, 2020. In the film you can see a whole series of amazing trailers and gadgets which, at the time, delighted viewers by showing a futuristic vision of how, in the late 1980s, the world was expected to evolve in the subsequent 26 years. But were the creators of the film right?
Now that the date has finally arrived, we can assess how well its predictions have come true.
It is evident that not all the inventions present in the film have come true, but we can already enjoy some of those gadgets that seemed so incredible to us at the time; and others are already in development. You can see a list below:
1. Personal drones
Drones or unmanned aircraft appear as something common in the 2020 of the film, where we can see them performing various functions, from taking photos to publish in the newspapers to walking a dog. We may not yet give them all those uses, but they are already available for sale for about 900 euros and companies such as Google or Amazon, among others, are trying to develop commercial drone models for sending packages to remote areas.
2. Tablets and mobile payments
In the scene where an elderly Terry asks Marty to donate $ 100 electronically to save the historic clock tower, a small wireless electronic device can be seen to make the payment. This prediction has not only come true, but has been far exceeded by new smartphones and mobile payment systems developed by Apple, Google or Samsung; or money exchange apps like Venmo or Square.
3. Biometric devices
Fingerprint recognition is present in various parts of the film. For example, when Jennifer, Marty's girlfriend (and his future wife) opens her front door in 2020 by placing her thumb on the surface of a device located next to the entrance. Currently, these devices are used with multiple uses, from opening doors to unlocking the mobile screen or confirming a payment transaction.
4. Control of technology by gestures and voice
A clear example in the film is that of video games. In the scene of the nostalgic “cafe de los 80”, a retro place that recalls in the 2020 film the time Marty comes from, two young people are surprised to see Marty play an arcade video game operating the controls with their hands. Today, many video games still require the use of hands, but Five years ago, Microsoft released its Xbox Kinect console that allows gamers to control their movements on screen using gestures and voice commands..
The control of technology by gestures and voice is also present in the film in other areas, in addition to video games. For example, in Marty's house, where we can see how it is possible to control lighting or television by voice. At present, companies like Apple or Amazon are working on similar technologies. Apple has its well-known assistant Siri and recently he has patented motion control technology with which he hopes very soon to make computers that users can operate with gestures. For its part, Amazon has already put on sale a device called Echo which acts as a kind of control center or voice activated personal assistant for smart homes.
5. The giant high resolution flat screens in which we can divide the screen to watch several channels at the same time
In the film we can see a large flat TV on which it is possible to view multiple channels at the same time. Since Philips launched the world's first flat-panel TV in 1997, televisions have evolved rapidly and become commonplace in most homes in industrialized countries. Not all flat TVs today include the feature Picture-in-Picture (PIP), with which it is possible to display more than one signal source at the same time, but it is becoming more and more frequent.
6. Video calls
In the movie, Marty's boss eventually fires him over a video call. Today, the use of Skype and other video calling and video conferencing applications is common, both at the company level and for personal use. And we can not only do them from the computer, but also from televisions, tablets, smartphones ...
During one of the video calls in the film, we also see how they share a kind of profile with data such as their date of birth, profession, political orientation or hobbies, which reminds us, although very far, of current social networks.
7. Smart clothing and wearable devices
In the movie, we can see how Marty puts on a jacket and sneakers that automatically fit his size and close on their own. Later, when it falls into the water, we see that the jacket also includes an auto-drying function. Self-adjusting clothing has not yet reached the current market, but thanks to nanotechnology, we do have clothes that dry themselves instantly as soon as we get out of the water, clothes that do not stain or clothes that cheer us up if it detects that we are down.
When it comes to self-lacing shoes, there have been numerous rumors in recent years that Nike might introduce shoes like the ones in the movie this year. The reason is that the company patented in July 2013 a system called “automatic lacing adjustment”. Finally, last week and coinciding with the date that Marty arrived in the future, Nike has confirmed that the Nike Air Mag with self-adjusting laces will go on sale in spring 2020..
On the other hand, we have a whole range of wearable devices, from “smart watches”, such as iWatch, to bracelets that record sports activity, such as fitbit; or "smart shirts" that measure breathing, heart rate, or sleep patterns.
8. Smart glasses
In the film we see futuristic glasses with which it is possible to make video calls. The glasses developed by Google, Google Glass, allow us to perform similar functions among many other things. Another example would be the Baidu Eye device, the Chinese version of Google Glass.
After much hype and the launch of several models of glasses, some of them designer, Google glasses are not currently for sale; the internet search giant pulled them off the market earlier this year. However, at the end of July, The Wall Street Journal He assured that, according to his sources, Google glasses are being “quietly” introduced in companies in sectors such as healthcare or manufacturing, in which it can be useful to use it during work.
9. The Slamball sport
The name of this sport appears in a story that can be seen in a corner of a future newspaper that Doc teaches Marty in the movie. Actually, in 1989 there was no sport with that name, but was created later, in 2002, and is a mix of basketball and trampolines which has become quite successful in the US You can see a sample in this video:
10. Video cameras on public roads
In the film we see that there are video cameras on the streets that record any incident that occurs on public roads, so that law enforcement agencies can present themselves instantly on the spot. The installation of these cameras for security reasons generated a great debate a few years ago and there are still protests from privacy advocates, but to a greater or lesser extent, they have become commonplace in most countries.
11. 3D holograms
In the movie Marty crouches in fear when a giant hologram of a shark is suddenly thrown at him. Holograms have been around for years and have evolved in amazing ways. Just look at Hatsume Miku, the first holographic female singer to give massive concerts in Japan. It was brought to life by Crypton Future Media in August 2007, and today this hologram representing a 16-year-old manga-looking girl has become a cultural phenomenon. With more than two million followers on Facebook, Miku hologram boasts a repertoire of over 100,000 songs and has generated millions of dollars in revenue. Even Lady Gaga hired her as the opening act for her Artpop tour.
12. The flying skateboards
In the movie we see Marty McFly using a flying skateboard. Although, today, this type of skateboard is still not common, since there are a couple of models. The first was the Hendo Hoverboard, introduced in 2014 by startup American based in California, Arx Pax. The device, which has four disk-shaped levitation motors that create a magnetic field and keep the skateboard in the air about 2.5 cm above the ground, went on sale with an unaffordable price of $ 10,000 (about 8,000 €) and can only levitate on copper and aluminum surfaces. You can see a demonstration in the following video:
More recently, In June 2020, the Japanese luxury car manufacturer Lexus announced a new model that works with liquid nitrogen, using a technology similar to that of magnetic levitation trains. Its main drawbacks: like the previous one, it only flies on special surfaces with magnets And, although it allows you to do more than the Hendo Hoverboard, those who have tried it say that it is more difficult to handle than a conventional skateboard and it barely has 10 or 15 minutes of autonomy; then it must be recharged again with more liquid hydrogen. The tests were carried out in August in Barcelona, on a special track created by Lexus for the occasion. You can see images of the tests in the following video:
13. Flying cars
In the 2020 film, practically all cars can fly and their use is completely widespread. Obviously, this is not the case today. However, there are already four models:
In 2010, the Terrafugia company presented a flying car model called Transition, a mixture between a car and a plane capable of traveling by land and air, and everything seems to indicate that the company could market the vehicle before the end of the year. The model fits in a normal garage and does not need a runway to take off, as it can ascend vertically thanks to rotors located on its wings. Its main drawbacks are its high price, which is expected to be around $ 360,000; and not everyone can drive it, since requires pilot's license to drive it.
The same company announced this year that it is working on a new more advanced model, called TFX, which could be ready to hit the market in 8-12 years.
Another flying car is the Aeromóvil 3.0, developed by the Slovak company Aeromóvil, which has already received a pre-authorization from the Slovak Civil Aviation Authority and began the testing phase in 2014. It is a more futuristic, compact and ultralight model, thanks to its elaboration with carbon fiber materials. The version, 3.0, is capable of traveling 869 kilometers by land and 692 by air; and it can fly at 200 km / h and reach an altitude of up to 9,800 m.
The fourth is the PAL-V ONE, from the company PAL-V Europe NV, a hybrid two-seater between a three-wheeler and an autogyro that runs on gasoline and develops a speed of up to 180 km / h both by air and by land. Generally, it flies below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), within the airspace available for uncontrolled VFR (visual flight regulation) traffic, so it does not interfere with commercial air traffic.
Apparently, according to Bloomberg News, Japanese carmaker Toyota may also be investigating the possibility of using magnetic levitation technology employed by trains. maglev Japanese, which float 10 cm above the ground, for the development of flying cars.
Although we still do not have robots in gas stations that review vehicles like the Texaco that can be seen in the film, there are robots already in multiple areas, such as kitchens or customer service, and it is expected that, in just a few years , could end up displacing humans in many jobs. You can read more information on this topic in the article: "Robots could displace humans in companies sooner than expected."
15. Cars that run on waste
In one of the
footage from the movie we see how Doc fuels the reservoir of his famous
Delorean with food scraps and other debris. Although not yet
There is a car with a fusion engine like Doc's, yeah we have cars
of hydrogen that convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity
using steam as a by-product. By now, most of the
models require fossil fuels or natural gas to create the
hydrogen, but Air Products, the American leader in fuels from
hydrogen, has used the hydrogen produced by a plant since 2011
California wastewater treatment. Also, some
Scientists are experimenting with other sources, such as energy
solar or wind.
16. The Pepsi Perfect
This is not a technological advance and it has been fulfilled more than anything for marketing reasons but we cannot stop naming it. Finally, Pepsi has launched the "Pepsi Perfect", the fashionable soft drink in the 2020 of the film, if only in limited edition to celebrate the 30 years that have passed since the release of the film. The company put the drink on sale last week, coinciding with the day that Marty MacFly arrives in the future, October 21, 2020. The 6,500 units sold immediately, for $ 20.15 each. In view of success, The company has announced that it will release a second batch of the limited edition on November 3. In addition, they have created a whole range of related products such as sweatshirts or T-shirts with the drink in question and the slogan “The future is now”. They can be purchased online on the company's website.
Although it is not a technological advance, it should be noted another of the predictions in which the creators of the film have surprisingly been right and is that of that the Chicago Cubs would win the playoffs this year. You can also see in one of the newspapers of the film a news that indicates that a cure for cancer is still being sought.
However, not all of the film's predictions have been correct. They erred in the widespread use of fax, a device considered obsolete for years and, unfortunately, also in which Princess Diana would come to reign. They also failed in your forecasts of price inflation, Fortunately! There is currently no soda that costs $ 50, not even Pepsi Perfect.
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