When Science Fiction Becomes Reality

Self-Driving Cars

Remember those self-driving cars in the 1990 movie Total Recall? Google has the real things up and running on the ground in Nevada, Florida and California – the only places the authorities will let them legally operate.

Google Glass

Haven’t we seen Google Glass before (albeit in different forms) in movies ranging from the 1984 hits Ghostbusters and Terminator to RoboCop in 1987 and They Live one year later?

Video Bill Boards

All those video billboards everywhere? Yep, try Blade Runner and Back to the Future II – among other films.

Bionic Limbs

“Smart” whole limb prosthetics are now reality, but there was a time when they were still science-fantasy – in RoboCop and Star Wars. And remember Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man in 1973? It took 34 years, but in 2007 Touch Bionics launched the first commercially-available bionic hand, since fitted to thousands of recipients world wide.

Bionic Eyes

Steve Austin’s fictional “bionic eye” is now reality as well. This year Duke University became one of the first sites in the U.S. to offer implants of Second Site’s Argus II Retinal Prosthetics System – bionic eyes – to severely blind patients with end-stage retinitis pigmentosa.

Longevity

Characters living long beyond a normal life span is a staple in science fiction and fantasy, and researchers at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh have managed to keep mice alive for more than 3 times what would be normal.

Mind-Controlled Arm

The University of Pittsburgh neurobiology department worked with 52-year-old Jan Scheuermann for 13 weeks to create a robotic arm controlled only by the power of her mind!

Cloak of Invisibility

Remember Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility? Well, he stole it from HyperStealth Biotechnology and their new Quantum Stealth fabric.

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