Forget sci-fi - the golden age of gadgets is already here

Moto 360
Moto's 360 is part of a golden age of gadgetry

On the face of it, the Moto 360 and Sony's Project Morpheus don't have a lot in common. But they're both part of a bigger picture, a picture that also includes electric vehicles, cars that can park themselves, Apple's Healthbook app and Sonos speakers.

The picture they're painting is one we believed in as kids.

It's the golden age of gadgets.

Promises delivered

For decades, children have been promised all kinds of sci-fi goodness - and for decades, they didn't get it because the ideas were so far ahead of anybody's ability to make them.

Entire generations grew old waiting for metal trousers, flying cars and flat-screen computers they could write on.

And then all of a sudden, everything started turning up at once.

If you browse through Popular Mechanics' many predictions, it's amazing how many of its more outlandish technological ideas are coming true now.

Enormous wall-hung home cinema screens (predicted in 1954). The Electric Remote Controlled Home (1939). Online newspapers (1938, although the prediction was that they'd be faxed). Remote medicine (1905). Smartwatches (1968). Self-driving cars (1932).

We didn't get everything - making trousers from asbestos (1929) wasn't the brightest idea and unless somebody builds Elon Musk's Hyperloop we won't get hypersonic vacuum-tube trains (1950) - but it does feel like after years of climbing up a technological hill, we're suddenly at the top and ready to go WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!

From virtual reality headsets that don't suck to autonomous vehicles, exoskeletons and personal AIs, suddenly everything we've been promised for so long is either already here or tantalisingly close.

This is all happening in an incredibly short space of time - iPads are four, YouTube nine, Google 16 and the web 25.

We really are living in a golden age of gadgets, and I can't begin to imagine what we'll be getting excited about in four, nine, 15 and 25 years from now.

Maybe we should ask Popular Mechanics. Personal helicopters (1932), anyone?

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.