Star Wars: Episode VII comes out on December 18th, 2015, and diehard fans are finding all sorts of creative ways to channel their excitement. So why not with some tech, too? When the first Star Wars movie was released in 1977, the clever concepts and creations were nothing more than science fiction. Today, many of them are out on the consumer market -- or being developed for specialty applications.
1. Bionic Limbs
Bionic hands are one of the best examples of Star Wars tech come to life. Today, we have bionic limbs that can interface with signals from our brains, moving and articulating just like our own limbs would. We also have affordable bionic parts that can be 3D printed -- and this technology is only getting better and more affordable.
2. Walking Robots
We don't exactly have C-3P0s running around, but we do have walking robots, and that's far more impressive than it might seem. The simple act of walking is something we teach toddlers to do, but it's actually a very complex action that requires a lot of balance. By developing walking robots, scientists have broken a fairly significant barrier. Now we just have to develop AI!
Well, we probably aren't going to be getting into any high speed races in the current hovercrafts, but we do have them. In fact, hovercrafts have been in development since the early 1950s. Modern hovercrafts have a top speed of 50 mph and will hover a full ten feet above the ground... but they also start at nearly $100,000.
4. Magnetic Levitation
Maglev trains are one of those sci-fi ideas that proved to be incredibly applicable to modern needs. Magnetic levitation creates fast, reliable trains and have significantly reduced wear and tear. They can operate at speeds of up to 250 mph and they are in current operation in Japan, China, and many other countries where public transportation is critical.
There's just something that says "future" about holograms, and augmented reality systems and laser holograms are making some very close facsimiles. True holograms are difficult to display in a 3D space, but the University of Arizona just made a recent breakthrough. In the past, holograms have been developed using sheets of water (on which lasers have been transmitted) or by projecting into smoke.
OK, most Star Wars technology isn't exactly affordable. But soon you'll be able to enjoy it on the big screen with a bucket of popcorn and a drink for about $20! Have you secured your tickets to opening day yet?
Image source: The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek