Back To The Future’s Future Almost The Present

Exactly five years from today we will all be using hovercrafts. And that’s a documented fact.

That’s because October 21, 2015 is the date upon which Marty McFly arrives in Hill Valley in Back to the Future 2.

(This is the real date mentioned in the movie. Back in July a rumor went around the internet that it was actually July 5, 2010. Although in the 1985 present of the first movie Doc Brown mentions going “25 years into the future”, this never happens. A supposed screenshot of the DeLorean’s time settings showing the 2010 date was soon confirmed as a Photoshopped hoax.)

With that in mind, it’s time to check through some of the technological innovations the film promises, courtesy of Futurepedia, a site dedicated to the trilogy, and see how likely they are to be a reality.

A telescopic baseball bat that could extend to twice its length. I’ve never seen one, but I can’t see any reason why it couldn’t be made.

A jacket that automatically adjusts to fit the wearer and then dries itself. No sign yet, but we have previously reported on efforts to develop clothing that monitors the wearer’s heartrate and alerts medical staff in case of problems.

Barcodes in place of number on license plates. Nope, we’ve gone beyond that: the Californian government has looked into issuing plates that can display digital advertising.

Holographic movies including Jaws 19. James Cameron must surely be on to it.

Mr Fusion, a home device that uses nuclear fusion to produce 1.21 gigawatts from a banana peel and a discarded beer can. Erm, no.

A video screen that can show up to nine channels at once from a selection of more than 300. Three hundred? Is that all?

Portable thumb units to allow people to make cashless payments. We’re not quite there, but credit card payments via an RFID chip in a mobile phone are currently being tested in New York and Los Angeles.

The Scenery Channel. Well, apparently this is “coming soon.”

Slamball. Check.

Videophones. That would be a yes. And in your pocket, too.

As for the cultural events of 2015, the Chicago Cubs winning the world series was clearly intended to be a joke, Princess Diana becoming British queen is looking unlikely, and we don’t yet have a female president of the United States. For that to come true, a woman would have to run and win in 2012, and when it comes to the most likely candidate for that to happen, I should probably shut up now and attempt to maintain some degree of journalist objectivity.

As for the hoverboard, keep it under your hat, but we’re already there:

The only problem, is that no matter how much 2015 technology becomes a reality, we won’t be able to use it in Hill Valley’s Courthouse Square.





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7 Responses to Back To The Future’s Future Almost The Present

  1. Having built a couple of small hovercrafts and a prototype hover board, let me tell you that the challenge is stability of the hover effect. Passive hover devices require that the center of gravity be very low or the hover effect collapses.

    Once I get that solved, I should be a gazillionaire.

  2. Having built a couple of small hovercrafts and a prototype hover board, let me tell you that the challenge is stability of the hover effect. Passive hover devices require that the center of gravity be very low or the hover effect collapses.

    Once I get that solved, I should be a gazillionaire.

  3. Having built a couple of small hovercrafts and a prototype hover board, let me tell you that the challenge is stability of the hover effect. Passive hover devices require that the center of gravity be very low or the hover effect collapses.

    Once I get that solved, I should be a gazillionaire.

  4. We've been there for at least 20 years. I remember taking a hoovering boat from Malmo to Copenhagen airport in 1993. This is just a small version of that awesome boat!

    Hell why isn't there a post about hoover-crafts, beasts going over pretty much everything.

  5. I've heard a company has a patent for a bicycle you can ride underwater (no joke), but that doesn't mean it's "feasible", much less in less a certain timespan.

    Patents =/= A potential for it to work.