Inventions Of The Future That Will Soon Be Available To Everyone
Here are some inventions of the future that will soon be available to everyone!Technology
From Star Wars to Avatar, the Science Fiction genre is known for showcasing unbelievable gadgets, vehicles and cities that are completely out of this world. These movies feel like pure fantasy, however, all their ‘Science Fiction’ might not stay fictional for much longer.
Scientists and engineers in the real world are at work developing insane inventions that can rival the gadgets of the silver screen. Let's hop into our DeLorean’s and zoom into the near future, looking at Cyber Chefs, Futuristic Fashion and literal Cyborgs, as we explore some inventions of the future that will soon be available to everyone!
Contact Lenses That Zoom
When you watch sci-fi movies, the future seems a long way away. However, time moves pretty fast, and the world really can change in the blink of an eye, sometimes quite literally.
In 2019, a group of scientists from the University of California San Diego invented an unbelievable accessory, a set of contact lenses that zoom in when you blink twice. When you look up, look down, or blink, your eyes give off unique electrical signals that correspond to each movement.
The contact lenses contain electrodes that track and respond to these electrical impulses, and the lenses are crafted using polymers that expand when an electric current is applied. When the lenses register a double-blink, the polymer lenses change shape slightly, increasing their magnification, making everything appear 32% larger for the wearer.
An early version of the lenses, and other variations like them, have already been built, but the researchers are still trying to figure out how to make them out of gas-permeable plastic, the material that’s used in regular contacts.
This thin plastic allows oxygen to reach the wearer’s eye, letting them safely wear contacts all day without damaging their eyesight. There are a lot of applications for these lenses, both cool and creepy alike, but it’s predicted to be a good few years before they’re released publicly.
As impressively strong as human bones can be, the truth is we’re all one tumble down the stairs away from breaking an arm or a leg. Thankfully, we’ll soon be able to reinforce our feeble bodies with exo-skeletons; giant mechanical suits that are designed to make us faster and stronger.
The Guardian XO is a full-body, rechargeable battery-powered exoskeleton that can increase the wearer’s strength, allowing them to lift up to 200lbs of weight without straining.
The Guardian won’t allow us to lift cars or jump over buildings; that kind of stuff is still a way off. However, it will use its electrical motors and sophisticated array of 120 ultra-precise body sensors to allow a person to comfortably lift a refrigerator or a small couch.
This incredible piece of tech is available to buy now, however, it currently costs $100,000 per year to rent, making it far too expensive for the average consumer. Plus, it’s better suited for moving house than saving the world.
However, other exoskeletons were created for more altruistic purposes. The ReWalk is a lower body exoskeleton, that’s designed to allow people with paraplegia to stand upright, walk, and climb up stairs. The exoskeleton has 4 powerful motors at the hip and knee joints, that are activated when the user tilts their upper-body in different directions, allowing significant mobility.
While the device currently costs up to $85,000 a unit, the team behind the ReWalk have started to make the tech available on certain medical insurance plans, and are aiming to make it cheaper over time. So, with any luck, the incredible device will soon become more widespread, changing thousands of lives for the better.
Until we evolve to plug ourselves into an outlet for charging, human beings will need to eat and drink. However, in the future, we might not need to cook. Back in 2015, Moley Robotics surprised the culinary world when they unveiled a robot that can use its 2 giant hands to cook your meals.
The gadget comes pre-programmed with thousands of recipes from award-winning chefs, and it will pour, stir, and sizzle its way to culinary perfection. While the robot can’t prep ingredients just yet, as its creators are reluctant to give it a knife, it will recognize specialized ingredient containers, and what they’ve been assigned to contain.
Using this customizable recognition, you can input your own recipes into the device’s touchscreen, allowing the machine to perfectly recreate grandma’s famous spaghetti with robotic precision. Though, admittedly, not quite the level of elegant precision in the CGI render in the commercial.
The real version isn’t quite that pretty yet, but the most expensive variant does cost an eye-watering $340,000, nonetheless. Still, no-one ever said living in the future was cheap, and if futuristic food is what you crave, this is as good as it gets.
Augmented Reality Display
From Doc’s DeLorean to Luke’s X-Wing, sci-fi movies are full of futuristic vehicles that put our cars to shame. However, with new, innovative technologies, real-world vehicles are growing increasingly futuristic.
An Augmented Reality Display, for example, is a gadget that’s predicted to become widespread in cars over the next couple of decades, and exists in limited forms even today. This amazing tech turns a car’s windscreen into a holographic smart-device, by projecting a bunch of information straight onto the glass in front of the driver.
AR devices can use built-in cameras to scan the road in front of you, building a digital image, which it can then interact with. A laser and optical fiber system then projects images up onto the windshield at an ideal angle to reach the driver’s eyes.
These images appear to be overlaid onto reality, allowing amazing things like overlaying an ideal racing line onto the asphalt, showing you where you should drive for maximum efficiency. These cameras also constantly scan for any potential hazards on the road, drawing your attention to pedestrians crossing the street, or cars pulling out in front of you.
A tech company called WayRay has created an AR display that can turn your daily commute into a video game, by scoring your driving as you go, and letting you compete with your friends. That might sound like a terrible idea, but the WayRay will score you on how safely you drive, giving you points for staying in your lane, stopping at red lights, and driving at safe speeds.
Over the last decade, it’s become increasingly popular to turn yourself into a cyborg, by implanting a tiny microchip into your hand.
These microchips are the same as the ones inside digital house keys, bankcards, and e-tickets, so once your implant is linked to your online accounts, you can buy your groceries, open your front door, and access public transport with the flick of a wrist.
Unfortunately, there are some serious privacy concerns about the microchips. In theory, the companies that produce the chips could put measures in place to track you every time you use the device, keeping a log of almost everything you do and your location at all times. These privacy concerns have prompted lots of wannabe cyborgs to make their own cybernetic enhancements at home.
Back in 2008, software engineer Jerry Jalava lost the tip of his finger in a motorcycle accident. Jerry was offered an ordinary prosthetic to replace the appendage, however, he decided to use one fitted with a USB stick instead, using it to store photos and a few different computer programs.
Similarly, in 2007, a documentary filmmaker called Rob Spence had to have his eye removed due to an injury. Instead of replacing the eye with an ordinary prosthetic, Rob decided to fit his empty socket with a working camera that he could use to shoot his documentaries.
He fitted the camera with an on-off switch, a 30-minute battery, and a glowing red light that turns on whenever he starts filming, to prove that he can’t secretly record anybody without their consent. That’s a nice sentiment from Rob but making the light green would turn it 100 times less creepy.
For most of us, cybernetic enhancements might seem extreme and unnerving, but if they become more legitimate and commercialized in the future, it seems conceivable that they’ll become a part of every-day life.
Today, lots of people love the ever-evolving world of Virtual Reality. But currently, playing VR games still comes with a risk of motion sickness, jumping face first into a wall, and accidentally knocking out grandma.
The platform is definitely still in its infancy; however, a ton of gaming companies are currently developing some insane new technologies that are leading virtual reality into an eventual new age of realism.
The Emerge Home is an incredible gadget that allows you to physically feel the things you touch in VR. With the Emerge Home, you use your bare hand as the controller, and when you grab something in game, the device’s panel will send a series of ultrasonic waves, meaning sound waves that are too high-frequency for humans to hear, right up to hit your hand, simulating the feeling of touch.
This technology allows users to physically feel it every time they pick up a weapon, high-five a teammate, or hold hands with their virtual girlfriend, making VR games far more immersive and realistic.
Unfortunately, the company has yet to release the product for public trials, and the panel can only sense your hand if you hold it less than 3-feet away, forcing gamers to sit relatively still.
Other VR tech is designed to give the player a bit more freedom though. The Omni One treadmill is a device that allows users to walk, sprint, crouch and jump in VR, while a harness keeps their body fixed in one place.
The user wears a pair of special slippery shoes, allowing them to move on the Omni One without actually going anywhere. The treadmill contains sensors that pick up on this movement, before transferring it to the in-game character.
The technology is pretty incredible, but unfortunately, it’s a bit too immersive for some people. Just check the TikTok clip below, looks like one hell of a workout!:
Back in 2016, a group of scientists at the University of Tokyo developed a new invention that turns our skin into a light-up display.
The device is essentially an adhesive strip full of LEDs, that can be used to display words, numbers, and emojis on your skin. The lights can also connect to other smart devices wirelessly, alerting you if someone is calling your phone, or knocking on your front door.
The adhesive display will use a strip of conductive gold paste to connect to a set of electrodes stuck to your skin. These electrodes will be able to read your heart rate and blood pressure, before passing that information along to the LEDs on your hand, which are powered by a flexible battery.
If the device senses low blood-pressure, it can display an alert to prompt you to take medication, potentially saving an elderly patient's life. These medical functions could prove to be very valuable in the future, however, the device’s social functions do currently seem a bit less useful.
Personal Air Purifier
The next device might look like a futuristic neck brace, but it’s actually a personal air-purifier called the ‘Air Ring.’ The device is a portable facemask that sucks in air from the outside world and filters out the viruses and pollutants, before blasting clean air back into your face.
Air pollution currently contributes to the deaths of 7 million people every year, and as industrial cities continue to grow, it’s a problem that’s not likely to go away without some serious action. So, in the meantime, you may be best off wearing a futuristic air-purifier like the Air Ring.
The device filters air through a set of particle-absorbing foam, then sterilizes it using UV light, before finally sending the air through a long carbon filter just before the outlet.
It can be fitted with a series of detachable masks, ranging from partial face screens to a giant hood, depending on how safe, or anti-social you want to be. It might look a little goofy now, but before long, light-up air-purifiers like the Air-Ring might well become the hottest fashion trend, because even if the air is toxic, it’s important to look outrageously cool in a range of colors, right?
Let’s stay on the cyber-catwalk and check out another piece of futuristic fashion. The Cryptide Sneaker from Sintratec is a fully 3D printed shoe that might just be the future of footwear.
It’s made out of just one material, a special polymer called TPE elastomer. The TPE is thicker and thinner in different places, meaning that specific parts of the shoe are rigid, while others are soft and flexible. This means the shoe is both comfortable, and incredibly fast to manufacture, as the whole thing can be printed out in one go, without requiring any stitching or gluing.
The Cryptide’s scaffolding-style sole means that the sneakers are incredibly comfortable, however, if you want to ‘Star Trek’ through the snow, you might need some footwear that’s a bit heavier duty.
The Flux Snowshoe is an incredibly advanced set of kicks created by designer Eric Brunt. When you step down on the shoes, they become flat, spreading your surface area out to let you stand comfortably on top of deep snow. However, when you lift your leg, the shoes become flexible, folding in on themselves to let the user walk with a natural gait.
The Flux Snowshoes make walking on icy terrain "snow" problem at all, and although the sneakers don’t tie themselves, or let you fly through the air, they do give us a sneak peek at the future of fashion.
We’ve got to admit, with VR glasses, hand displays, light-up masks and high-tech snowshoes, our grandkids are going to be pretty stylish.
Fridge Of The Future
Currently, most of us store our perishable food inside normal fridges; primitive appliances that can’t tell us the time, or what the weather’s like outside. Luckily, we won’t have to put up with these pieces of junk for much longer, as the world’s biggest tech companies start to develop smart fridges with some unbelievable features.
Currently, LG, Samsung and Amazon are all working on fridges that can scan their own contents, keeping track of the food you place inside them. These fridges will boast touchscreen displays that can let you know when you’re starting to run low on certain items, let you reorder products, and recommend you recipes based on the ingredients you have.
The technology will make sure you never run out of milk again! The idea is that the food packaging you place in the fridge will be chipped with an RFID tag. This is a scannable tag that’s increasingly being used by food manufacturers to manage stock and shipping, as they can be scanned using radio waves, eliminating the need for the direct-sight of a barcode.
By scanning these RFID tags in your food packaging, the fridge can constantly keep an accurate inventory of the food. These smart fridges are pretty spectacular; however, they have competition.
The next big box of slime in the video below is a refrigerator concept that doesn’t use electricity or ice to keep your food cool, instead relying on a giant blob of biopolymer gel to keep your produce in a space completely deprived of oxygen.
The fridge is silent, odorless, and lightweight, however, you do have to watch your dinner swim around in a vat of green slime all day, which might ruin your appetite. The fridge looks awesome, but lots of netizens have questioned whether the concept is actually possible to build, asking: what happens if the gel gets loose crumbs or spilled liquid in it?
People have also questioned whether the fridge could actually preserve food, given that there aren’t any motors to actively cool stuff down, and the creator has been very vague about the mechanism of the so-called ‘biopolymer’. He claims it’d consist of countless microscopic nanobots that would draw heat from anything placed inside.
Though as for how we’d make these nanobots, or how they would draw heat without emitting their own. Well, it seems the designer is relying on the engineers of tomorrow to iron out those little details.
If someone tells me they have a broken heart, I immediately prescribe them with a tub of chocolate ice cream, a Hugh Grant rom-com, and a hug. However, if you’re suffering from a genuine heart condition, you’re definitely better off going to see a licensed medical professional.
Currently, lots of heart conditions are treated with pacemakers. These small implants monitor your heart and zap it with electricity when it starts beating irregularly, jumpstarting the muscles back into a normal rhythm.
Pacemakers work well, but they have to be replaced when their battery runs out, requiring surgery every 7 years. However, a group of professors from the Universities of Illinois and Washington have developed a new futuristic device to replace pacemakers, that on top of other wonderful things, allows patients to detect heart attacks with their smart phone.
The device is a metallic mesh sleeve, that’s specially tailored to fit around the patient’s heart. Like a regular pacemaker, the device will automatically shock your heart if it detects irregular beatings.
However, the device can also power itself indefinitely, by converting your heartbeats into electricity. This is possible due to the lead zirconate titanate it’s constructed of, which has the fascinating quality of generating a small electric current each time it is placed under physical stress; in this case, by the beating of the heart.
This current is used to keep a tiny rechargeable battery topped up, which fuels any required jolts to the heart and other clever functions. All of this connects to a smartphone app that displays your current metabolism, blood pH level and body temperature in real-time.
Amazingly, this can make it clear you’re about to have a heart attack, long before you actually feel any physical symptoms. And needless to say, during cardiac arrest, every second counts! Unfortunately, the technology won’t be released for at least another 15 years, so let’s just hope our hearts don’t give out before the device hits the market.
So far, we’ve looked at fridges, footwear, facemasks, robot chef arms, but we haven’t covered the most important sci-fi invention of all: robot butlers.
In 2021, Elon Musk and Tesla announced the development of ‘Optimus,’ a bipedal robot butler that’s designed to do the jobs that humans ‘don’t want to do.’ Musk says that the robot should be taking out our trash and sweeping our floors by 2027, when it’ll be released to the public for just $20,000.
That’s pretty exciting news, however, some experts think that Elon’s claims are incredibly far-fetched, noting that currently, Optimus walks like it’s peed its pants, and some experts predict it’ll take decades to fully develop.
Regardless of when the Tesla Bot comes out, it looks like a sci-fi world filled with robots is lying just over the horizon. But, even if that’s true, do we actually want robots in our homes?
The CB2 is a robot that looks like an evil child, designed to mimic the physical and mental capabilities of a 2-year-old. The 4-foot-tall bundle of horror was designed to see whether a robot A.I. could slowly develop social skills by interacting with humans and watching them socialize with each other.
It uses sophisticated processors to record and evaluate information, including 197 sensors under its skin to register touch, and eye cameras that can record and understand human facial expressions.
Since its creation in 2007, the CB2 has reportedly learned how to walk, and it’s started to gain a better understanding of social norms, allegedly maturing to respond appropriately in social situations. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the robot’s creator believes that it should eventually be able to teach itself how to speak in short sentences using its pre-installed artificial vocal cord.
This technology is pretty incredible, but again, even if the futuristic invention becomes widespread, I’m not sure I want it inside my home. I don’t care if it has the mind of a 2-year-old, if that thing calls me ‘dada’ I’m throwing it out the window.
We’ve looked at some insane sci-fi inventions today, however, we haven’t looked at the futuristic materials that they’re going to be made out of. Currently, our world is ruled by plastic, metal, and concrete, but the inventions of the future will be built with something else; a world-changing material called Graphene.
Everything in the universe is made out of atoms; you, me, and the air we’re currently breathing. While most materials and objects are made up of several connected layers of atoms, graphene is one of the few materials that’s made up of just one layer of carbon. This means that a sheet of graphene is around 1 million times thinner than a piece of paper, which combined with its strength gives the material some unbelievable properties.
Graphene’s hexagonal structure is incredibly sturdy, so much so, it’s currently the strongest material ever discovered, measured to be over 200 times stronger than steel. Despite its strength, the ultra-thin material is also incredibly light, and if you covered a football field with a sheet of graphene, it would still weigh less than a single dollar bill.
Electricity can easily pass across Graphene’s single-layer hexagonal structure, so it can also conduct electricity 1,000 times better than copper, and 250 times better than silicon, the material that we currently use in computer chips.
Graphene’s potential is incredible, but unfortunately, it’s incredibly difficult and expensive to make, so scientists can only manufacture small amounts of it at a time. It’s currently one of the most-expensive materials in the world, and we have no idea how to mass produce high-quality versions of graphene in a cost-effective way.
That’s a bummer, but it doesn’t mean the wonder-material is totally useless. Graphene can be mixed with concrete, or metal powders to create hybrid materials that are incredibly strong, lightweight and conductive. This means that a pinch of graphene can vastly improve buildings, cars, and electronics, by making stronger walls, lighter metal panels, and faster computer chips.
Currently, a giant pile of iron dust like the one in the image below, for example, can be bolstered with graphene to create a composite far stronger than regular iron.
It’s definitely a good start, and scientists are slowly figuring out how to effectively mass-produce graphene to be used on its own, with the wonder-material steadily becoming cheaper to manufacture. If this progress continues, we’ll soon be able to use it to make an array of unbelievable inventions that’ll change our lives, and truly, push humanity into the future.
If you were amazed at these future inventions, you might want to read our article about revolutionary space technologies and our article about cities of the future. If you're particularly interested about exoskeletons, you might want to read our article about a real-life iron man suit! Thanks for reading!