Technology seems to move so fast that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Every week there are new inventions that take us closer to the future we’ve all been hoping for since we saw our first sci-fi movie. Sure, we might not be wearing silver jump-suits or scooting around in hover cars, but these 20 gifs suggest that the future is with us right now.
20. Plasma laser cutter
First up, here’s a laser cutter. And not just any laser cutter – this is a plasma laser cutter that’s being used to slice out a map of Atlanta onto stainless steel. You wouldn’t want to get your fingers in the way of that.
19. 3D printing pen
We’ve all wanted our doodles to come to life from time to time – and this pen brings that dream closer to reality. When the user scribbles above some paper, the pen sends out a stream of plastic that solidifies as it hits the air, allowing you to create awesome 3D drawings.
18. Prosthetic hand
A prevalent theme of science fiction is cybernetics – the idea of adding pieces of technology to the human body. This prosthetic hand is just one example of the technology that’s available right now and boy, does it look efficient.
17. Android fish
If you’ve seen Blade Runner then you will know that in Phillip K. Dick’s vision of the future, robot pets are a status symbol. And right now you can get yourself an android fish to live in an aquarium. It’s not quite an electric sheep but it’s still pretty cool.
16. 3D touchscreen keyboard
Transformative screen technology is likely to be the next big advance in smartphones. Apple already has 3D touch on its most recent phones, but how about a screen that raises a keyboard when you want to type? Yup, you can get one of those already.
15. Porch-garage combo
One of the biggest innovations in the future is likely to revolve around saving space as the population grows and land becomes more scarce. So why not combine a porch and a garage with this handy hidden door?
14. Gesture-control wristband
Gesture control always looks cool in the movies, but now technophiles can get a special wristband that lets them control a variety of gadgets with a wave of the hand. It might not be the most stylish accessory, but just twisting the air to turn up the volume of music looks pretty damn cool.
13. Real-time camera translation
This one’s been around for a while now, but it’s still pretty amazing. It’s an app called Smartlens that lets the user point their phone’s camera at some foreign-language text and instantly translate it into English. Welcome to the future, indeed.
12. Forearm touchscreen
Another cool piece of tech that’s in the prototype stage right now – this bracelet basically turns the wearer’s forearm into a touchscreen, connecting it to their phone so they can poke and prod without needing their mobile to hand. They look a bit silly making a call though.
11. Transforming robot
If you’re worried about robots taking over the world then it might be best if you skip this one. Sure, it’s not exactly up to Megatron levels of terrifying, but this transforming robot might offer us a glimpse into our technological future.
10. Dirt-resistant clothes
Who hasn’t been walking down the street and had a bucket of tar thrown on them? Well, these chemically treated clothes will help out the wearer the next time that happens. No more excuses for turning up to work covered in black goop…
9. Tree chomper
This machine looks like something out of a Terminator movie. Sure, it’s simply digging up trees right now, but what happens when it becomes sentient and starts chomping up humans? It’d still probably look just as cool.
8. Camera balancer
Be honest, it looks like this camera balancer is defying the laws of physics, doesn’t it? No matter how much he shakes it, the camera stays stationary. There are plenty of applications for this gadget, but imagine using it to get a cup of coffee safely up the stairs. Such convenience.
7. Robotic bird
Probably one of the most beautiful gadgets on this list, just look how graceful this robotic bird is as it flies around the auditorium. Perhaps it lives on a diet of those robot fish we saw earlier and uses copper wire to make its nest?
6. Robot air hockey
The future isn’t all about gadgets that make our lives easier – there’s time for some fun and games as well. Check out this air-hockey table that an engineer built for his daughter. People won’t need friends in the future, just robots that know how to hit pucks.
5. See-through putty
This weird see-through putty has an almost endless number of applications. And it looks like it’d be an awful lot of fun just playing around with it. And on top of all that, the prank possibilities it offers could keep people entertained for a long time.
4. Intelligent trash can
If this trash can is anything to go by, then the future is going to be much cleaner. It’s attached wirelessly to a computer that predicts where the trash its owner throws is going to land. It’ll possibly scare the pants off the family cat as well.
3. Augmented reality headset
The Holo Lens is Microsoft’s augmented reality (AR) headset. Unlike virtual reality, which drops users into a completely new world, AR adds elements to the world we’re already in. Of all the gadgets on this list, perhaps this is the one that’s going to make us feel most like we’re living in the future.
2. High-definition X-ray scanner
While the other pieces of tech on the list have looked impressive, this new type of X-ray scanner could actually save lives, offering doctors a new way to examine the body. They can see all of the gory details in real time without having to make a single incision, which could revolutionize diagnosis.
1. Anti-theft bicycle levitator
Last but not least, here’s the futuristic way to make sure your bicycle doesn’t get stolen – lift it into the air. This clever piece of design essentially acts as a lift that’s attached to the owner’s bike and a street lamp. Just make sure you’re not still sat on your bike when you fire it upwards…