The Future Is Now

clocktower

21.10.2015

In the cult 1989 film, Back to the Future II, Marty McFly is transported to October 21, 2015. He's astonished to find a future with all types of crazy technology including hoverboards, flying cars and even self-lacing shoes. Now that we're firmly in the future and that date is finally upon us, we take a look at the predictions from the blockbuster film.

Which were right? And, which were quite a way off?
We explore whether the future really is now.

Status: Now Available

videophone

Status: In the Pipeline

drop
pizza
hover
0

Status: A Long Way Off

rain
slamball



Video Telephone


Invention status: Now Available
Video calls are just one of the futuristic predictions Back to the Future II got right. Popular apps like Facetime and Skype now let you video chat to friends, family and co-workers. In fact, today’s technology has developed even further than director Zemeckis ever imagined in the 1989 film. Marty McFly had to rely on a giant television to make video calls. Today you can chat to anyone, almost anywhere in the world, on a tiny smartphone screen.




Litterbugs


Invention status: Now Available
In Back to the Future II, even the bins had cool, futuristic technology. Litter bugs moved along the streets for people to throw their rubbish in. Robotic rubbish bins aren't widespread, but that could all change very soon. An EU-funded project has created a range of robotic bins called Dust-Carts, and they're not such a rubbish idea. These mobile trash cans navigate their way around a city's streets and collect rubbish on-demand. They've already been tested in Italy, Sweden and Japan, and could be making their way into your city very soon.




Video Glasses


Invention status: Now Available
In the scene where Marty plays around with hi-tech eyewear, you'd be forgiven for thinking he was wearing Google Glass on his head. Google and Oculus Rift have both catapulted tech glasses into the mainstream. So, it's one of the few predictions the blockbuster film got right. With the latest wearable tech, you can play video games, take photos and even broadcast what you see to the world. You still can't watch TV with them but that's only a matter of time.




Dehydrated Pizza


Invention status: In the pipeline
In Back to the Future II, while Grandma Lorraine is cooking the McFlys dinner, she puts a tiny cookie-sized dehydrated pizza into a hydrator. Twelve seconds later, when she takes it out, the pizza has almost tripled in size. So, how long before we're chowing down on dehydrated foods? If the organic food movement continues to be popular, it probably won't be for a few years. Today, there's not much appetite for engineered food on planet Earth. However, for astronauts in space, it's become an incredibly handy item on the menu!




Hoverboards


Invention status: In the pipeline
Marty's first time on a hoverboard is one of the film's most memorable scenes. But, sadly, these floating skateboards are still not a reality. Hendo Hover and Lexus have both came out with prototypes which suggest the technology is not too far off. The only problem is both of their inventions only work on metallic surfaces. So, it's still going to be a while before we can zip along the streets on a hoverboard like Marty McFly.




Power Laces


Invention status: In the pipeline
Marty's self-lacing shoes have been the envy of sneakerheads ever since the film came out 26 years ago. In the movie, the straps automatically tightened around his feet to secure them in his Nike high-tops. Today, most trainers don't come with power-lacing technology, although Nike has announced it will be releasing a similar pair later this year. The new Nike Mags will feature in-built, lace-tying technology so you can look and walk like Marty McFly.




Weather Service


Invention status: A long way off
In Back to the Future II, the weather is controlled and scheduled in advance, by the US Weather Service. Today, the technology does exist to manipulate certain kinds of weather but not on the huge scale seen in the film. Scientists in drought-prone countries like the US and China, now use cloud-seeding technology to induce rain. But, we're nowhere near having the technology to prevent storms like Hurricane Katrina or other destructive weather events.




Slamball


Invention status: A long way off
Forget football or rugby, Slamball is Back to the Future's sport of choice. It's played in an anti-gravity magnetic field where players can run along walls and upside-down thanks to high-grip shoes. Although we're a long way off from harnessing that kind of tech, it didn't stop entrepreneur Mason Gordon coming up with his own version of the game. In 2002, he combined basketball with trampolines to create a new type of Slamball that's become a huge hit in China and the US.




Flying Car


Invention status: A long way off
As in Blade Runner, or even the Jetsons before it, Back to the Future II imagined a future when flying cars whizzed through the sky. Although 2015 has finally arrived, flying cars are still not a reality but that's not for the want of trying. Tech companies such as Aeromobil and Terrafugia have unveiled prototypes, but these won't be commercially available until at least 2017. An even bigger challenge is creating an air traffic system for this new breed of cars. Flying cars that zip through the sky? Probably only when pigs fly.

Video Telephone

Invention status: Now Available

Video calls are just one of the futuristic predictions Back to the Future II got right. Popular apps like Facetime and Skype now let you video chat to friends, family and co-workers. In fact, today’s technology has developed even further than director Zemeckis ever imagined in the 1989 film. Marty McFly had to rely on a giant television to make video calls. Today you can chat to anyone, almost anywhere in the world, on a tiny smartphone screen.

Litterbugs

Invention status: Now Available

In Back to the Future II, even the bins had cool, futuristic technology. Litter bugs moved along the streets for people to throw their rubbish in. Robotic rubbish bins aren't widespread, but that could all change very soon. An EU-funded project has created a range of robotic bins called Dust-Carts, and they're not such a rubbish idea. These mobile trash cans navigate their way around a city's streets and collect rubbish on-demand. They've already been tested in Italy, Sweden and Japan, and could be making their way into your city very soon.

Video Glasses

Invention status: Now Available

In the scene where Marty plays around with hi-tech eyewear, you'd be forgiven for thinking he was wearing Google Glass on his head. Google and Oculus Rift have both catapulted tech glasses into the mainstream. So, it's one of the few predictions the blockbuster film got right. With the latest wearable tech, you can play video games, take photos and even broadcast what you see to the world. You still can't watch TV with them but that's only a matter of time.

Hoverboards

Invention status: In the pipeline

Marty's first time on a hoverboard is one of the film's most memorable scenes. But, sadly, these floating skateboards are still not a reality. Hendo Hover and Lexus have both came out with prototypes which suggest the technology is not too far off. The only problem is both of their inventions only work on metallic surfaces. So, it's still going to be a while before we can zip along the streets on a hoverboard like Marty McFly.

Dehydrated Pizza

Invention status: In the pipeline

In Back to the Future II, while Grandma Lorraine is cooking the McFlys dinner, she puts a tiny cookie-sized dehydrated pizza into a hydrator. Twelve seconds later, when she takes it out, the pizza has almost tripled in size. So, how long before we're chowing down on dehydrated foods? If the organic food movement continues to be popular, it probably won't be for a few years. Today, there's not much appetite for engineered food on planet Earth. However, for astronauts in space, it's become an incredibly handy item on the menu!

Power Laces

Invention status: In the pipeline

Marty's self-lacing shoes have been the envy of sneakerheads ever since the film came out 26 years ago. In the movie, the straps automatically tightened around his feet to secure them in his Nike high-tops. Today, most trainers don't come with power-lacing technology, although Nike has announced it will be releasing a similar pair later this year. The new Nike Mags will feature in-built, lace-tying technology so you can look and walk like Marty McFly.

Weather Service

Invention status: A Long way off

In Back to the Future II, the weather is controlled and scheduled in advance, by the US Weather Service. Today, the technology does exist to manipulate certain kinds of weather but not on the huge scale seen in the film. Scientists in drought-prone countries like the US and China, now use cloud-seeding technology to induce rain. But, we're nowhere near having the technology to prevent storms like Hurricane Katrina or other destructive weather events.

Flying Cars

Invention status: A Long way off

As in Blade Runner, or even the Jetsons before it, Back to the Future II imagined a future when flying cars whizzed through the sky. Although 2015 has finally arrived, flying cars are still not a reality but that's not for the want of trying. Tech companies such as Aeromobil and Terrafugia have unveiled prototypes, but these won't be commercially available until at least 2017. An even bigger challenge is creating an air traffic system for this new breed of cars. Flying cars that zip through the sky? Probably only when pigs fly.

Slamball

Invention status: A Long way off

Forget football or rugby, Slamball is Back to the Future's sport of choice. It's played in an anti-gravity magnetic field where players can run along walls and upside-down thanks to high-grip shoes. Although we're a long way off from harnessing that kind of tech, it didn't stop entrepreneur Mason Gordon coming up with his own version of the game. In 2002, he combined basketball with trampolines to create a new type of Slamball that's become a huge hit in China and the US.