If you're like me, you understand the future to be that 'other' reality that is constantly looming on the horizon. It might not be as dramatic as Mad Max, but the future, at least some components of it as envisioned by the science fiction writers of yesterday, is definitely upon us. Here are 7 surprising examples of future technologies that are with us today.
1. Interactive Product Displays:
This self-selling product display is reminiscent of the bar on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I, for one, am willing to do without overly-perky baristas, unless, of course, the bartender is Whoopi Goldberg.
Interactive Product Display; Source: Future Technology
2. Big Dog Robot:
At 2.5 foot tall, 250 pounds, and with a 4-mile an hour pace, these bizarre-looking rough terrain robots are the new battlefield pack mules. Just terrifying enough to make you check your gear for a change of fatigues.
Boston Dynamics' BigDog; Source: RobAid
3. Virtual Keyboarding:
Tom Cruise had one in Minority Report, and for about $150 you can too. The future is here and it's iPad compatible.
Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard; Source: Mark_Pascua
4. Human Exoskeleton:
Just what you need for the human version of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, and you thought brass knuckles were an unfair advantage.
5. Virtual Shopping:
Let me see if I've got this right. Instead of walking to the convenience store, a customer goes to the virtual convenience store, purchases items by scanning UPC codes with a smartphone...and then conveniently all items are delivered at some later time?
Tesco Virtual Supermarket; Source: Design Boom
6. Vegetarian Meat:
It may not be Soylent Green but it's just as creepy. Test tube meat is not only promising to help vegetarians enjoy a juicy burger, but it's also alleged to help solve the hunger problem. In vitro meat is being perfected today and could be on your plate tomorrow. (By the way, Soylent Green Crackers really do exist, but they're not people, they're plankton -- or are they?)
Artificial or "Vitro" Meat; Source: Design Boom
7. Smart Clothes:
This item could easily win the 'Orwell Award' for most unsettling feature on this list. Sensors imbedded in the fabric allow for heart rate monitoring, act as a pedometer, and can even update your location to social networking sites. Who could see any wrong with that?!
Nano Tube Yarns; Source: ZeitNews