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Five Technology Predictions That Were Way Off

by Sean P. Aune | February 17, 2010February 17, 2010 2:34 am PDT

“Where’s my flying car?”  Avery Brooks, also known as Capt. Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,  starred in a commercial for IBM a few years ago that asked this question, and it’s a question that people have been asking for years.  Where are our flying cars?  For that matter, where are a lot of the things that we were promised to have “in the future” that have never materialized.  Lets take a look at five of those things that we wish were here.

anakin speeder

Flying Cars

Well, of course this is number one on the list because it’s the thing that has probably been promised the most times.  There have been some attempts over the decades, and there even is one that is available for pre-order named the Terrafugia, but it’s really more of a plane that happens to fold up its wings and drive like a car.  However, we’re talking more like the Jetsons or the ones in Star Wars here.  Why is there no car we just jump in and flies around on our whims?  Well, besides the technology just not existing yet, and the potential headaches of mid-air traffic jams and collisions, I think we just aren’t ready for them considering how many accidents we have on the ground.

Flying cars may very well appear some day, but I highly doubt it will be while anyone reading this article is still alive.
jetpack2

Personal Jet Packs

This is another item that does exist in some form, but the practicalities of using it are just not feasible for your average person.  There is also the problem that most variations of the concept are only able to go very short distances, making them completely useless for the way everyone envisioned them being used.

This is something I just never envision coming into wide use, even in the future.  The amount of thrust needed to lift a human just makes the devices so insanely large that most people couldn’t even stand up with them without falling backwards.  Even if the technology gets a lot smaller, do you really want some drunken fool flying home and crashing into your living room picture window?

I didn’t think so.  This is one technology that is probably better suited staying in the past.

kitchen of tomorrow

Kitchen of Tomorrow

For some odd reason, kitchens have always seem to have been a big focus of “what the future holds for us” type theories.

In the 1950’s it seemed to focus heavily on cooking systems that would allow the woman to wear a nice dress and a string of pearls while she cooks, and not risk mussing her hair … or having anything on the counters. A recurring theme always seemed to be appliances that somehow folded away for storage while not in use, but they also would have been a huge pain in the behind to clean.

These futuristic kitchens still get built every so often and now focus more on things like Internet connected refrigerators that will show video, make grocery lists and so on, but they’ll never be as cool as the ones they imagined back in the 1950’s.

wrist phone

Wrist Phones

Wrist phones are actually starting to show up more and more at electronics show, but they still aren’t catching on with the general public.  The biggest rumor is that RIM (Research In Motion) is working on a BlackBerry wrist phone, but it does look like there will be a wrist phone at some point in the not too distant future, but will anyone want to go back to wearing something on their wrists?  Wrist watches are becoming increasingly rare, and somehow I doubt we’re all going to want to go back to having something on our arm at all times.

Comic strip Dick Tracy was where this device got the most popular, but hopefully whatever we do end up with will never be as big as his was always pictured to be.

space hotel

Space Hotels

If you’ve ever seen the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, you remember those early scenes in the film of a Pan Am space jet transporting people to a luxury space station in high orbit around the Earth.  Seeing as it is now 2010, the year the sequel talked of a second ship heading to Jupiter, we seem to be running a bit behind on these predictions.  We are barely ready for space tourism flights that won’t even reach high orbit, and it will only last a few minutes.

This is another one of those technologies I really don’t see showing up in our life times, but you never know.

What future technologies don’t we have yet that annoy you?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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