SHAPING THE PRESENT WITH BACK TO THE FUTURE TECH

Grab your hoverboards!

Back to the Future (1985)

WHERE ARE THE FLYING CARS?

Yikes! Scratch that! People can hardly operate the vehicles they have now. NO FLYING CARS!

The anniversary of Back to the Future is upon us; It’s been 35 years since the original film and 30 years since its subsequent sequel. In the decades that followed, we have a plethora of tech that those films displayed or alluded to. Today, we’re going to celebrate the list of items that you may have in your possession or exist outside of the range of your wallet. Grab your tablets, connect your Bluetooth devices, and let’s get virtual!

POWER-LACING SHOES

Nike MAGS

In Back to the Future Part II (1989), the main character Marty McFly is seen not only using a hoverboard but wearing one of the coolest pairs of Nikes to ever exist. The shoes were designed by Tinker Hatfield, with light-up panels and self-fastening laces. The clamor for a fully realized and purchasable shoe was high, thus the collaboration between the original shoe designer and Tiffany Beers was formed. The first version of the shoe (with 1,500 pairs) released in 2011, plus included an electroluminescent sole and rechargeable battery with more than 3000 hours of battery life. Online sales of the shoe ranged from USD$2,300 to USD$10,000. The second version (89 pairs) of the shoe released in 2016 did include the self-lacing feature and regardless of which version you have, they might as well be considered priceless for their collector’s value. All proceeds from the shoes were donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease research. *Between these Back to the Future shoes and all of the Alien Anniversary Stomper shoes that have released my shoe collection will never be complete.*

HOVERBOARDS AND BOARD-LESS SKATEBOARDS

Hoverboard + Nike MAGS = Back to the Future (1989)

As mentioned previously, the main character in Back to the Future Part II wore some of the coolest moon-boot sneakers and sailed around ‘future 2015’ in style on a hoverboard. Well, you’ll be delighted to know that the closest the lay-person will ever be able to afford is a self-balancing scooter or swegway. You remember those right? The ‘hoverboards’ that every other person seemed to have that constantly caught on fire and are currently facing a plethora of patent disputes. That was a neat trend while they lasted…

Hoverboard, Swegway, or Self-balancing Scooter

Don’t be dismayed, maybe you can try out these boardless skateboards or Orbitwheels that require no batteries or motors and utilize their natural rotation for propulsion. These cool rings look more like futuristic chakram weapons than methods of mobility but this is what’s fun about the future, the sky’s (or well the ground in this case) the limit. They won’t break the bank either so give them a try and see if you can stay upright for more than 30 seconds.

Boardless Skateboards = Orbitwheels

If you’re looking for real hoverboards, grab a few million dollars and see if Lexus will allow you onto their hoverboard park. Their unique “Slide” hoverboard utilizes magnets and superconductors juxtaposed with magnets in the ground to hover, whose main system inside the board is internally cooled with liquid nitrogen. The Lexus company built this custom skate park in Barcelona, Spain where its prototypes are being tested and yeehaw-ed to their heart’s content.

Lexus Hoverboard

Last, but not least let’s take a gander at the Hendo hoverboard, that houses four disc engines on the underside. These engines similar to the Lexus design utilize magnets to get the perfect lift for above the ground levitation. They have all types of cool magnet theorem and application of it on the website for the hoverboard with fascinating tidbits like this down below. Ugh, science is sooo cool!

Lenz’s law explains how eddy currents are created when magnets are moved relative to a conductive material. These eddy currents in turn create an opposing magnetic field in the conductor. Our core technology, which we call Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA™), focuses this field more efficiently.

Hendo Hoverboards

Hendo Hoverboard

EVERYDAY USE TECH

Between cellphones, bluetooth devices, handheld tablet computers, video-conference calls, thumbprint I.D. scans, and wall mounted widescreen televisions with the ability to watch multiple channels simultaneously we truly are in the golden age of tech whether we know it or not. It’s absolutely incredible that we have all of this technical gadgetry right at our fingertips, with new innovations released every year or few years. If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably fallen in love with the immersive experience of VR (virtual reality).

Playstation VR Headsets

Plus, if you love to be creeped out by your favorite singers rising from the dead in holographic form, you can experience that as well. If that eerie dissonance doesn’t tickle your fancy, check out all of the cool goings-on with bionic implants and 3D printing. You’d be amazed at the limbs and organs that have been replicated in the years since the late 1980s. The only thing holding the present back at times is money and imagination. If you’re too busy thinking about what you’re going to create next, make sure your dog has been walked too, eh? Pilot that drone remotely or set it with a sequence so they can have a lovely walk around the cul-de-sac. Sadly, these drones don’t take care of their yard waste. Maybe in the next prototype…

A drone doing the dog-walking.

If you decide to leave the drone at home and take your dog out instead (please wear a mask) and wear your brand new self-drying jacket. Crowdfunding via Kickstarter made the Marty McFly jacket possible with ventilation systems, push-button sleeve shortening, and inflatability for insulation/warmth. I wouldn’t mind spending the downpayment necessary for this piece of fashion tech, especially to help make it a global staple.

The Self-Drying Jacket

Sadly, solar roadways have failed despite enormous investments. Photovoltaic roads were being considered as a new frontier in utilizing existing infrastructure to harvest the energy from impermeable surfaces. The solar industry by itself has seen exponential growth and increases of stability in the past few decades, but the solar panel roadways alone produced less than half of the energy expected, were less than durable, and installations of the solar coverings saw financial impracticality. Maybe one day we’ll hit that sweet spot with solar roads or electricity generation by driving on the roadways themselves.

Solar Roadways in Normandy, France

A FUTURE IN QUARANTINE

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, technology that wasn’t already prepared for distribution has ground to a halt. There are no exact timelines for a new tech ‘normal’ and perhaps it’s a great thing that we are at a standstill so we can reassess what we truly need and what are materialistic wants. New food technologies were booming prior to and during the pandemic, such as vegan/alternative meats, milk(s), cheeses, and so on. The true waves of the future are ethics and sustainability. Thus, industries that didn’t change course or listen to their employees and consumers were given a rude monetary awakening these past few months. For good or ill, we have the power to shape history, and that includes scientific discovery. Who would have thought Back to the Future would have given us such vivid glimpses of our technical present? *Happy anniversary!* I still want those shoes from Nike.

Editor: We Are Horror Magazine. Writer: An Injustice, Fanfare, Gayly Dreadful, Haw Creek Horror, Rely on Horror, Something Ghoulish, and SUPERJUMP.