Acid trip ideas from the tall-towers of Hollywood-executive offices usually don't make it any further than the silver screen. But when they do, when they do, boy howdy - they're exciting.
Real life science is always aping the brain farts of Californian movie producers and, on occasion, the boffins produce the goods. We live in an exciting time when the fantasies of our childhood are starting to become a reality. Alright, we haven't seen radioactive arachnids or time stopping devices (yet), but we have dipped our hands into the magic hat of robotics and pulled out bionic arms and self assembling robots.
Smartphones can now actually do most of the wildly inaccurate tasks Jack Bauer expected his mobile phone to do in 2001, and the US army wants to have a genuine crack at making Iron Man. Imagine if the US army - or anyone else for that matter - attempted to make a robotic exoskeleton suit 50 years ago? It probably would've looked like something out of The Wizard of Oz. A man, quite literally in a large tin. But in 2013, we can expect something a lot more mouth watering. Here we look at the top 10 movie tech that made it to real life.
1 Robocop Visor
This is RoboCop country. The augmented reality and digital overlay that helped Officer Murphy dispense justice was probably one of the most entertaining aspects of RoboCop. Real-time information on criminals and remote access to police records could have even been the first time we saw mobile internet in action.
Although, if it had been 2013, Robocop would've had to walk around a bit, holding his head up toward the sky, hoping to get signal. Nevertheless, officer Murphy's justice visor isn't science fiction any more. Web giant and trend setter, Google, has built a pair of glasses that work as a real life HUD - giving you access to the internet and thus real-time information on things in your line of sight. Directions to a shop, directions in a shop, emails and texts displayed in front of your eye, aggressive Facebook stalking of people you don't know, Google searches and video recording are all available with a few spoken commands. The only downside is that you will look like an idiot, which wasn't a problem for Robocop because he was awesome.
In the films and erratic Japanese cartoons, Transformers are technologically brilliant mechanical marvels. In real life they are brittle toddler fodder. In execution, Transformer toys have always been a disappointment. Hasbro never really wanted us to 'transform' Optimus Prime any other way than designated. The boundless ways to replicate machines is what attracted us to the metallic aliens in the first place, and a group of researchers at MIT have taken the first steps towards that goal.
Called 'M blocks', these small cube shaped robots can jump and flip to assemble themselves into certain shapes. Not exactly Megatron - maybe baby Megatron - but we have to start somewhere. Researchers at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT believe that these robots can be used to build solid structures independently. For example, if part of a bridge were to be damaged, the blocks would detect where the damage was and replace it with a solid structure. That's a pretty mundane, but practical use.
Currently, the blocks are controlled by sending instructions to them remotely. But the researchers hope to program algorithms into the blocks and make them entirely autonomous and able to adapt to different situations.
We've all dreamed about owning a house that turns the lights on when you walk in, or dispenses some perfectly cooked toast into your mouth when you wake up. Not like in Wallace and Gromit, but more like something out of Star Trek.