Editor’s note: This post was written by Sarah Brown, a tech enthusiast with a love of all topics relating to the IoT. She writes about upcoming technologies, sci-fi entertainment and the world of online gaming. Sarah believes that the through entertainment, technology and the written word, we can all stay connected and create the world of tomorrow.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is opening in theaters in December, and fans are excited to see what Luke, Leia, and Han have been up to in the 40 years since the original “Star Wars” movie was released. While we wait to see what has been going on in their galaxy far, far away, we’ve decided to look at the ways the franchise has helped shape our world.
We’ve seen a lot of changes in technology — and in the way we use it — since 1977. The mind-blowing high-tech networks that George Lucas imagined years ago are now becoming reality. We might not have clone armies and Death Stars just yet, but the tech we’ve developed in the last 40 years is, arguably, just as impressive.
Here are 5 awesome Star Wars technologies that are no longer science fiction.
Who can forget the ominous Imperial probe droid, scouting out Hoth’s Rebel Base for the Empire? The image of the lone robot hovering amidst the frozen wasteland is almost as memorable as Luke sleeping inside the Tauntaun’s steaming carcass.
Well, probe droids are real, and you can buy one on Amazon.
Drone technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years. Not only can they hover, fly, and respond to human input just like the droids in Star Wars, they can also take stunning HD photographs and videos from high in the air.
C-3PO is an iconic movie character — his stiff mannerisms and shuffling movement are almost instantly identifiable to any movie fan. In the “Star Wars” universe, he and his fellow protocol droids help out by translating languages and acting as diplomats between different galactic cultures.
We’re still far away from the human-like artificial intelligence that C-3PO possesses, but we do have robots that look and act human and can talk and communicate in multiple languages. Major companies like Google and Honda have developed robots of their own, and those humanoid robots are slowly becoming more similar to their on-screen counterparts.
Holographic Phone Calls
Holographic phone calls are still in the early stages of development, but hologram technology does exist and 3D-projected calling might not be too far away. Polish company Leia Display Systems has already begun work on a set of devices that can beam an image of you and your caller into one another’s living rooms. The prototype is still quite large and expensive, but it might be only a matter of time before this kind of communication becomes commonplace.
Prosthetic Robot Arms
Both Anakin and Luke Skywalker end up losing an arm over the course of the series, and both of them get mechanical prosthetic arms as replacements. They look life-like and can feel sensations, just like a real limb.
Our own prosthetic technology has improved drastically in recent years, now offering mechanical limbs that are controlled by thought and can even feel the things they touch. While these prosthetics are still undergoing research, the developers hope to make them available to the public in only a few years.
Star Wars wouldn’t be much of a space opera without space travel. Spacecraft in the films range from single-pilot X-Wings and TIE fighters to massive freighters and transports.
The recent SpaceX vow to put humans on Mars within 12 years has served to make interplanetary travel a whole lot more real. And Virgin Galactic is already offering private citizens the chance to orbit the earth for $250,000 per seat.
Space travel and exploration is still a budding industry, but the privatization of this field could mean a lot of advances in a short period of time — we could even see affordable space travel within our lifetimes, though probably not to any distant galaxies.
If we told the moviegoers of 1977 about Wi-Fi connected drones, humanoid robots, and commercial star ships, they would rightly think we were talking about “Star Wars.” Luckily for us, these technologies have permeated the imaginations of countless individuals over time and are now a fully fledged reality.