Published February 06, 2013
While we might have smart homes that we can control from our smart phones, the house of today is a far cry from what sci-fi writers and film directors envisioned. Here are a few futuristic technologies that we are still waiting for.
On The Jetsons, Rosey the robo-maid always kept the house in tip-top shape. It’s been 50 years since that show aired and we’re still scrubbing our own bathtubs and folding our own clothes.
While you might not be able to buy an automaton to clean your entire house yet, there are an increasing number of robots that can handle specific cleaning tasks. You can get a robots to vacuum, mop, mow, clean the pool and even clear the gutters. Japanese companies have also made advances on the robot front, producing ‘bots that can interact with humans in increasingly sophisticated ways. Unfortunately, just not ones that can bring you a cold beer or take out the trash.
A Flying Car in Every Garage
Perhaps the most frequent of future predictions, flying cars were supposed to be commonplace by now. Blade Runner, The Fifth Element and many other sci-fi films predicted a future when the bonds of gravity would not longer apply to our vehicles. In an energy-conscious age, however, putting a few thousand pounds of steel in the air doesn’t seem like the most practical idea. While flying cars might not be coming our way anytime soon, the driverless cars featured in Total Recall are more within our reach. Companies like Google, and a few major automakers, are well on their way to making self-driving cars a reality.
A Meal At the Press of A Button
The future was supposed to be free of cooking. On The Jetsons, a hungry homemaker simply had to press a button, and a fully formed, piping-hot meal popped out. While microwaves and frozen meals have alleviated some of our culinary duties, we’re still a long way from a homemade gourmet meal at a button’s touch. However, much technological progress has been made in the kitchen. New cooking machines, like induction ranges and immersion circulators are opening up new techniques and new levels of precision. And for those too lazy, or harried, to cook, an app like GrubHub can land you a meal delivered in an hour or less.
A Moon Vacation
As man ventured into space in the 1960s and ‘70s, many forward-looking thinkers foretold a future where interplanetary travel would become run-of-the-mill. Once man landed on the moon, many thought, a colony there would soon follow. And then it would just be a matter of time before you could own a lunar vacation home, or at least a timeshare. However, lunar homes are looking like the least likely of future predictions.
Man hasn’t set foot on the moon in 40 years, and we have yet to send a manned mission to Mars, something that NASA has been dying to do for decades. While trips to another planet seem beyond our grasp, vacations into the vacuum of space are becoming increasingly possible. Companies like Virgin Galactic look to make private space travel a possibility for regular people -- provided you have $200,000 to spare.
Virtual Reality Video Games
Films like Tron and eXistenZ promised us video games so immersive that they would rival reality. While the latest generation gaming consoles like Xbox, Wii and Playstation do sport hype-realistic graphics, they fall short of providing a fully immersive virtual reality. However, these gaming machines are coming closer to offering a realistic virtual experience. Televisions now use 3D technology to make games and films leap to life. And motion-based systems like the Kinect turn your body into a game controller, allowing you to interact with games in a way that makes the old button-mashing controllers seem downright primitive.