Science Fiction Technologies which are now a Reality

Today, there are a lot of projects and companies from private companies and hobbyists that have taken advantage of latest technologies and talent to make things happen. In this blog post I would be sharing some of those cool products showcased in the past in science-fiction TV series, which are now a reality. 

1) Tablet computers shown in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, are now ubiquitous, thanks to Apple’s iPads and various other brands that have made Tablet computers a phenomenon around the world. Today Tablet computers are used across places, be it for education, brand feedback or for entertainment purposes.

2) In the Jetsons, one got to witness driverless and flying cars. Now we have driverless cars being regularly on trials across roads. And soon flying taxis as well, with drones looking to ferry passengers being tested by companies like Boeing and at cities like Dubai.

3) Again on ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, a holodeck was built to create virtual reality experiences for its participants. Today virtual reality headsets are becoming increasingly popularly, with these headsets being used for gaming, training, learning and development and even in the maintenance of equipment.

Here are some more that were showcased on movies, and which are now a reality.
4) Wearable Computing – Back to the Future II (1989)
5) Skype – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
6) Touch Interface – Minority Report (2002)
7) Robot Assisted Surgery – Sleeper (1973)
8) Smartphones/PDAs – Star Trek: The Original Series (1966)
9) 3D Printing at Home – Weird Science (1985)
10) Siri – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Check out these and more on this Gizmodo articleMany of these projects would not have been a reality had it not been for the generous support and funding of innovators in their research and development efforts.

Is Crowdfunding Good for Science Research?

This post has been inspired by the Reading Nature project and my interactions with its researcher Riccardo Guidi from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

The coming decade is expected to see major breakthroughs in medical research, like the personal genome sequencing (analyzing genetically-carried diseases) and developing personalized medicines to counter its effect. Several startups as well as renowned biotech companies, those involved in genome sequences have already received 100’s of millions in funding from venture capitalists and large fund pools.

While genomics is witnessing a boom time, there are increasing amounts of research projects that are finding it hard to get funding or traction from the general public. The challenge for researchers are a plenty, including:

(1) Not being-known to socialize much, more so with the general public, researchers find it hard to communicate the importance of their research.

(2) Tax-payers rightly seek more transparency, which includes wanting to know the kind of projects where their money is being invested in.

(3) While scientific journals are designed for the scientific community, the common citizen, including children, require more outlets that shared research information in easy-to-understand terms.

(4) To help funders realize that many research projects take a longer time that, for instance a web startup.

(5) Many research projects turn out to be unsuccessful in the end and that in most cases, the learning alone is crucial for future research.

And so we ask, is crowdfunding good for science research?