15 Awesome Inventions Inspired By Science Fiction

Inventors aren’t the only people who developed technologies with their mind. Some of the great gizmos were inspired by the science fiction stories. Science fiction is full of amazing and creative ideas. Can you imagine the impact of the science fiction had on modern tech? The following inventions were only inspired to the basic design of technologies that are currently widely used all over the world. Scientists are now trying to invent more techs in the future that are mentioned in several SCI-fictions. Here is the collection of awesome inventions inspired by Science Fiction.

15. USB Drives

USB DrivesImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: Star Trek: The Next Generation, characters used some chips that hold gigabytes of information. They called it an isolinear chip. The design of the flash drives used in the film is very close to the USB drives that we use now.

Real Invention: The first real USB drive was invented by an Israeli’s company, M-Systems in 1999. USB drives can now hold up to terabytes of data and widely used all over the world.

14. Wall Mounted TVs

Wall Mounted TVsImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: A 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury includes several high-end devices that are still considered as concepts. He also described a flat screen TV with a high fidelity sound system in a big entertainment room called parlors.

Real Invention: The first flat display was produced in 1958 for the military use. Later in 1964, plasma display was invented at the University of Illinois. The majority of the today’s TV’s market is dominated by the flat display TVs.

13. Taser Gun

Taser GunImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: The word “Taser” is an acronym used for Thomas A. Swift’s Electrical Rifle and mentioned in a 1911 book, Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle. He was considered as one of the most famous fictional characters of the 20th century.

Real Invention: In 1974, a NASA researcher Jack Cover designed a gun and named it after his childhood favorite book, Thomas ASwift’s Electrical Rifle. Taser guns are now categorized as a non-lethal weapon and only police have authority to use it.

12. The Waldo

The WaldoImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: In 1942, a science fiction author Robert Heinlein produced a short film about Waldo F. Jones. It is based on a device through which humans can remotely control any object.

Real Invention: There are many real inventions based on this fiction. In the mid-1940s, an arm was developed for the nuclear power plant. The design of the DA Vinci Code surgical system, a robotic system is also inspired by the same fiction.

11. QuickTime

QuickTimeImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, few characters listened to multiple music tracks on a single computer.

Real Invention: The inventor of QuickTime, Steve Perlman admitted that he got the idea while watching an episode of Star Trek. QuickTime is now the official media player of all Apple Products.

10. Rockets

RocketsImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: The idea of the first liquid fueled rocket came from the 1897 science fiction novel by H. G Wells, War of the Worlds.

Real Invention: Robert Goddard successfully launched the first rocket on 16th march 1926. He had an interest in reading science fiction novels. He is now considered as the father of the modern rocket science.

9. Helicopter

HelicopterImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: The inventor who designed the modern helicopter was inspired by Jules Verne’s novel Clipper of the Clouds. He likes to read this book when he was young.

Real Invention: Igor Sikorsky designed the world’s first aircraft with two engines in 1913 and carrier plane in the 1930s. He is regarded as the aviation pioneer of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

8. Tablets

TabletsImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: Throughout Star trek: The Next Generation, all characters used a flat touch screen control panel called personal access display device. It inspired the modern design of the tablets.

Real Invention: The first iPad was introduced in 2010 and Steve Jobs compared it with the Star Trek movie to show its capability. Later, all other tablets designs are also based on this fictional gadget.

7. Hologram

HologramImage Source: Wikia

As Mention In: The Star Wars series inspired the researchers for this modern technology. In the movie, this tech was used for telecommunication purpose.

Real Invention: The development of the holographic projection began in 1970s and now it has a wide range of applications. Ostendo Technologies have developed a tiny projector that works similar as mentioned in the film.

6. Submarine

SubmarineImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: In 1870, Jules Verne mentioned similar technologies in his Twenty Thousands Leagues Under the Sea. The book is based on the adventures of an inventor who traveled the world in most advanced submarine of that time.

Real Invention: At the time of this fictional story, there were already few submarines. In 1898, Simon Lake introduced a submarine with better design who was inspired by Jules Verne’s work.

Read: 10 Near Future Military Technology

5. Flip Phone

Flip Phone startacImage Source: tmcnet

As Mention In: In a television series of Star Trek, the captain Kirk speaks into his handheld phone with several modern features.

Real Invention: Martin Cooper, the inventor of the world’s first compact mobile admitted that he was a fan of Star Trek and got the idea while watching it. He launched the flip phone in 1996 with several unique features that weighted only 30 ounces.

4. Flying Car

Flying CarImage Source: Gizmag

As Mention In: There are many movies that features some variations of the flying car. Some of the science fiction films are The Jetsons, The Fifth Element, Star Wars, Back to the Future II and Blade Runner.

Real Invention: The development of the flying cars began in 2000s and now there are many working prototypes of this technology. This field is still under development for better design with less fuel consumption feature.

Read: 7 Future Space Technologies You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

3. Atomic Power

Atomic PowerImage Source: Wikimedia

As Mention In: In 1914, H. G. Wells wrote a novel, The World Set Free, which is based on the theme of a peaceful world and use of nuclear power as an energy source.

Real Invention: Leo Szilard, American physicist read the book in 1932 and gets inspired to use the atomic power for energy generation. He gave the working design in 1993 and later honored with the Albert Einstein Award and Atoms for Peace Award.

2. World Wide Web

World Wide WebImage Source: Wikimedia

Recommended: 40 Interesting Facts About Technology and Web

As Mention In: Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story, Dial F for Frankenstein in 1964 that featured computers in networking and sharing of data.

Real Invention: Tim Berners Lee launched the first public version of the web in 1989. He is also considered as the father of the web. The web now becomes global and ubiquitous.

1. Global Positioning System

Global Positioning System - Inventions Inspired By Science FictionImage Source: Wikimedia

Read: Emerging Technologies in Electronics Which Will Change Our Future

As Mention In: In 1945, Arthur C. Clarke published an article about satellites that could be synchronized with earth. Star Trek also featured some technologies similar to the GPS. The geostationary orbit is also referred to as the Clarke orbit.

Real Invention: GPS project began in 1973 and in 1995 America launched GPS satellites to test the technology. Since then, the GPS technology is continuously evolving. Now it has a wide area of applications including online banking, navigation and many more.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is an experienced science and technology journalist interested in machines, AI, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out what his latest project is, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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  • Tablets were featured in film as far back as 1968, in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey”. We also had tablet computers running Windows & other OSes long before iPad came along…so it’s only fair to mention those as well.