Sci-fi movies are fascinating for either predicting where technology will go or completely (and hysterically) missing the mark.
While today's hi-tech gadgets make it seem like nothing is impossible, there are still some things we don't have yet. We get a taste of one of these futuristic achievements in Neil Blomkamp's "Elysium" (opening this week), which introduces us to a machine that immediately cures cancer and other diseases.
Like Blomkamp's medical marvel, let's take at some of our favorite fictional movie gadgets that we wish were real.
Gallery | Futuristic Movie Tech We Wish Were Real
- Instant Food - 'The Fifth Element’ (1997)
While the flying cars and high-tech guns of the year 2263 in “The Fifth Element” are awesome, the most handy technology of the film is the instant food. Yeah, McDonald’s still exists in the future, but at that point waiting in line at a drive-thru will be too much for our waning patience. Want a chicken dinner with all the fixings in a matter of seconds? Just drop a few food pellets into a bowl, microwave, and BAM -- instant gourmet dinner. “I’m lovin it” just got replaced by Leeloo’s “Chicken, good!”
- Instant Knowledge - ‘The Matrix’ (1999)
Ever find yourself in a situation where you immediately need to know how to fly a helicopter? Don’t we all. If we had the crazy advanced technology of “The Matrix” then we would learn everything we’d ever want to know in a matter of seconds by uploading it to our brain (oh the wonders of computers!). As shocking as it sounds, such a technology is apparently not such a distant fantasy, according to researchers. Till then, stay in school.
- P.O.V. Gun - ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ (2005)
There’s nothing more frustrating than someone being unable to understand what you're talking about. If only the Intergalactic Consortium of Angry Wives from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” really existed and invented the Point of View Gun, then understanding would be universal. Just imagine: you shoot someone with the gun and they totally get you. One flaw (advantage?) is that the movie’s gun only works on men. Sorry guys, I guess the women will never really get you.
- WALL-E - ‘WALL-E’ (2008)
Sure we have Roombas, but what about a robot who compacts our trash, plays us videos, fixes our electronics, and talks to us in that cute voice with those big puppy dog eyes? (We’re getting emotional thinking about it, too.) A real-life WALL-E that does all those things would be the best maid-companion-entertainment-center ever. While a real-life WALL-E does exist (he’s so cute it hurts), he’s only for show and doesn’t do all the other cool stuff. But if a full replication is ever invented, there better be a real EVE; WALL-E need's love too!
- Talking Teddy Bear - ‘A.I. Artificial Intelligence’ (2001)
Every kid wishes “Toy Story” was real so they could make friends out of their talking toys. In “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” Steven Spielberg envisions a futuristic world of emotional robots... and talking teddy bears. In the movie Haley Joel Osment’s David finds a friend in Teddy, a “super toy” talking stuffed animal who can feel and react just like a human. While human-like toys are an invention far away, the company ToyTalk is currently working on teddy bears that can talk and interact via a mobile app.
- Hoverboard - ‘Back to the Future Part II’ (1989)
So it’s nearly 2015 and everything “Back to the Future Part II” said would exist absolutely does not: no power shoelaces, no indoor gardens, no self-adjusting jackets. But those things aren’t a big deal; we're just waiting on our hoverboard. We got our hopes up last year with the existence of Mattel’s version, except it was a giant tease: a hoverboard that didn’t hover. Thanks, guys.
- Lightsabers - ‘Star Wars’
We think we speak for everyone when we say that if any technology on this list could be real, we'd choose lightsabers (don’t you dare disagree). While this is obviously the worst idea ever for safety reasons -- imagine how jammed ER’s would be the day they hit Toys ‘R Us -- it’s also probably the coolest. Since the plastic light-up toys don’t come close to what a real lightsaber would be, some serious Star Wars geeks have invented their own, while scientists are working on real ones to use for surgeries.
- The Neuralyzer - ‘Men in Black’ (1997)
You know all those embarrassing moments, like that time you drank too much or those days you wish you could pull an instant “Eternal Sunshine” on someone? With the help of the neuralyzer from the “Men in Black” films, you could have the convenience of wiping memories as quick as taking a photo. The memory-erasing device would be a handy tool when used sparingly, but if this thing really existed it could fall into the wrong hands. In a peaceful future, we’re all in for a real neuralyzer, just as long as things don’t turn Orwellian.
- The Transporter - ‘Star Trek’ (2009)
Imagine never running late again, traveling to Europe in a blink, or not crashing to your death should your parachute ever break (we hope not). If the beaming ability in the “Star Trek” franchise was real then we could all teleport to wherever we wanted. While the majority of technologies from the “Star Trek” series ended up becoming realities (cell phones, GPS, USB drives, etc.), we’re not sure we’ll be asking Scotty to beam us up for quite some time.
- Precrime - ‘Minority Report’ (2002)
So much of the technology of “Minority Report” has already become reality: iris scanners, insect robots, gestural interfaces, self-driving cars. Yet one gadget from the film we don’t have yet (and could use) are precogs. It may be creepy to imagine three naked people lying in a pool of water with their heads hooked up to devices, but the possibility of stopping crime before it starts is an enticing one. While the system clearly has its flaws and loopholes, it’s something we can ponder about.