Thanks to many hardworking individuals in STEM fields, technology has come further than we could have ever imagined. For decades, movies and books alike have kept our imaginations alive with ideas. Here are some ideas from the world of science fiction that became reality.
3D Printers – Star Trek
The steps forward in 3D printing technology continue to astound many. However, the 3D printer appeared years ago in Star Trek: The Next Generation.The printer was known as the Replicator, which created meals and everyday objects by rearranging subatomic particles. While the 3D printers of today still can’t make you a bowl of macaroni and cheese (though food 3D printers are currently in the experimental phases), we are printing everything from space tools to model body organs.
Hover Bike – Star Wars
Star Wars fans have long loved the idea of hover bikes, such as the speeders that appeared in the 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Now, the hover bike is a reality, with models popping up all over the globe. These helicopter-like inventions are sparking the interest of bikers everywhere, especially after the year 2014, which was a year full of successful hover bike experiments.
Video Calls – The Jetsons
It’s funny to think that there was a time when video calls did not exist. Skype and FaceTime are now and integral part of long distance communications with friends and family. The popular family cartoon The Jetsons aired in the early 1960s, long before video calling was on the radar of the general public. Video phoning existed at that time, but not in the same capacity shown in the cartoon. Video calls required enormous television sets, and the technology was only used in an experimental capacity by the military and phone companies looking for technological breakthroughs.
Driverless Cars – Minority Report
It has only been just in the past few years that any viable driverless car has been created. While the idea has been around as long as the automobile, the first autonomous car was created in the 1980s by a group of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University. Since then, there have been many companies interested in finding a way to make the autonomous car a reality. The 2002 movie Minority Report, based on the 1956 short story by the same name, features driverless cars. While the movie was created long after the first driverless car, it was well before any realistic models were created that could potentially be widely produced and sold.
Credit Cards – Looking Backward
More then 100 years ago, credit and debit cards did not exist. This is why it is so odd that author Edward Bellamy predicted their existence in his 1888 novel, Looking Backward. In his book, he depicts a utopian society that uses a simple card connected to a central bank. In the book, this card is used by citizens to purchase goods and services without paper or coin money. This book was published more than 60 years before the first credit card made its appearance in 1950.
STEM Education Carries Us Into The Future
With the help of experts in the STEM fields, our science fiction dreams have become realities. Even though technology has exploded over the course of the past century, we continue to imagine greater things for the future. Who knows? A hundred years from now we might be using 3D printers to make dinner every night after all. We could be vacationing on the moon or taking scenic drives across the surface of Mars. There’s no telling where STEM will take us… all we know is that if it exists in our imaginations, experts in STEM fields may someday find a way to make it possible.
Are you interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? It’s time to take these subjects outside the classroom. Talk to StratoStar about how project-based learning can really make a difference.