SF Gadgets & Gizmos

Or, all the futuristic stuff I’ve always dreamed of owning!

And who hasn’t dreamed of owning items we’ve seen in a movie, or on TV. I remember my friend, Linda, and I desperately wanting to join the Enterprise so we could each have a phaser, not realising till much later on, that this meant we might end up being an Infamous Red Shirt — usually the first characters to get shot at or die a grisly death in nearly every episode of Trek! But it didn’t stop us dreaming or pretending our bananas at lunchtime were our communicators. Flipping them open, and then, talking to them.

No wonder I was considered a weird kid at school.

It didn’t stop with Trek, I lusted after the tech in most SF TV shows I watched over the years. From light sabres to magnetic boots, to the TARDIS and Firefly’s ‘Serenity’. I wanted it all and, when I found out I needed H. G. Wells’ Time Machine to travel into the future, I started creating my own fictitious hardware and tech by writing it into existence.

Funny thing is, these days technology is catching up fast. There was a time when I dreamed of a Dick Tracey watch, and now, I owe an Apple iWatch. Like the flip phone inspired by Star Trek, and the diagnostic beds now in existence, to a version of the tricorder being used on the ISSN — The Lab-On-a-Chip Application Development Portable Test System (LOCAD-PTS) is used by astronauts and is designed specifically to biochemical molecules with the purpose of “identifying microbes on space station services” through use of the Gram Staining Method.

We even have a sort of hover bike now on sale based on drone tech, but scaled up considerably. Hover boards are not that far away! Let’s just hope that sentient Toasters (a.k.a. the Cylons) are way off in the distant future. I also wonder when we’ll get memory crystals, or crystal storage technology? Maybe that’s not so far off as I think, but whatever the tech, we know that science fiction can inspire real-life technologies and, if we live long enough, might, indeed, be witness to some incredible breakthroughs in the decades to come.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in checking out an almost complete listing of future tech featured in SFF books going back to 1899, check out the Glossary of SF Ideas, Technology and Inventions. Which, I might add, is an amazing resource—never assume you came up with the idea first, you’ll probably find out H. G. Wells, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Herbert or Niven beat you to it.

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  1. November 19, 2018

    I have a love hate relationship with technology. I appreciate how easy my life can become because of it yet I despise it for making my dependent and reliant. I mean I’m so used to ‘googling stuff’ that I hardly ever remember anything these days. With that said, I do have a soft spot for gadgets and appreciate how far we have come. My favourite Back to the Future is a prime example how our visions can be reality and sometimes much sooner than we think.

    That’s why I always loved Jules Verne’s vision and imagination (had to google his spelling by the way…) All those inventions he imagined and how accurate he was, I am honestly amazed how revolutionary he was, despite all that criticism he had to endure.

    • November 19, 2018

      Oh, you and I both, Vera. And, I’m sure many of us feel the same way. On the one hand it’s amazing and, on the other, it’s a bane of our existence. Yet life without these advancements would now be unthinkable.

      But now you can see why I love SF so much, and talk about this or that author. As, like, Verne, and Wells, they inspire readers and successive generations to make their fiction a reality. Flip phones would never have arrived if not for Star Trek, and then, maybe neither would Apple. Who knows. 😀

      Here’s to the imagination and flights of fantasy!

  2. November 16, 2018

    I do love gadgets, but I’m also kind of with Inge… right now I can’t even turn on my living room lights like a normal person cuz my bf changed all the bulbs to smart ones, so i have to mess with my phone if i wanna see anything…

    But if i could join the Starfleet and be on the enterprise, I’d want to be an engineer like Geordi

    • November 16, 2018

      Oh, I whole heartedly agree. There are some gadget and tech I can do without, thank you very much. The talking sentient fridge, the wired up house linked to people’s phones. And cars and planes run by glitch-prone computers.

      As we saw with the Lion Air crash in Indonesia recently, the computer crashed the plane. All because of a glitch in the software. 198 people dead! That scares me.

      Ah, now you’re talking. I’d be counsellor Deanna Troi, or maybe Doctor McCoy, I’m crabby enough and love me a good mint julep. Ha! Ha!

  3. November 16, 2018

    Bwahahaha I am picturing you at lunch time speaking to your banana Alexandra! Yes I can understand why you would have been seen as the weird kid LOL
    Now you are so right about science fiction catching up with us as most of our today’s gadgets where improbable years ago!

    • November 16, 2018

      I guess it was no more weird than what other kids were doing at the time. You boys going around talking like K.I.T. the car from Knight Rider. We all did silly things.

      I think what’s so surprising is just how fast the tech is catching up. Sometimes I pinch myself and realise, we’re in what is my future, when I was a kid. 😀

  4. On the one hand I love to see all those cool gadgets that can make your life easier, but on the other hand I always hold on to old ways. I do believe there are many things still to come though now.. to name just one thing: everyone will probably have a 3D printer in 10 years time. I’m afraid I can’t comment on the Toasters or memory crystals as I have no idea what you’re talking about ;-). You can punish me now 🙂

    • November 16, 2018

      Ha! Ha! No punishment for not knowing about what I’m babbling on about. Not every likes or reads SF and fantasy. But I agree with you, it looks like 3D printers will be a big thing in the next few years. And I’m sure we’ll see so much more.

      Oh, and the Toaster quip is about Battlestar Galactica, a TV show. 😉

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