Technologies we should have by now: Where's our flying cars?

Categories: Lists

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By Humanrobo via Flickr.com
​It's been 80 years since the Golden Age of science fiction, when the Space Age beckoned and we saw great technological advancements on the horizon. Soon, these futurists promised, we would be zipping around in hoverchairs, communicating through telepathy, and bathing in luxury every day. Well, turns out they were wrong. Sure, we have iPhones, but where are the no-water instant-clean showers, and the laser pistols, and the zipping around the galaxy in a space-Mustang? Here's our top 10 list of technologies that we ought to have, if only scientists weren't obsessed with boring stuff like finding a cure for cancer and ending poverty.


Food replication
Ever since Jean-Luc Picard first ordered an Earl Grey from a slot in the wall, our mouths have been watering at the idea of instant replicated food-on-demand. The thing can construct molecules out of base material, so presto chango a grey block of crap becomes a turkey dinner. It's the pothead's ultimate wet dream. But it's also not gonna happen anytime soon, because scientists are also slackers. The closest we've gotten is this crappy project called Cornucopia: Digital Gastronomy being designed by a couple MIT grad students. Maybe if they spent as much effort into food replication as they do putting lunar landers on their academic buildings?


Flying cars
Near-future fiction has been promising us flying cars "within the next 10 years" since the '60s. Now we're a decade into a whole new millenium, and the closest we have is some noisy prototypes that burn as much gas taking off as your car uses in a month. Come on, scientists; stop doing research into dumb stuff like "Why are people so interested in sex?" It's high time our morning commute ended with gliding elegantly into our 80th story office air garage.

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Ryan Somma via Flickr.com
Virtual reality 
VR has been promised as the next step in interface technology since the invention of computers, but all the prototypes so far have involved bulky goggles and gloves. We just want a couple of electrodes on our forehead, and then we want to be immersed in the most real-feeling video game we've ever experienced. Is that so much to ask? Of course, with VR World of Warcraft, we're pretty sure we'd never come out of our parents' basement, so maybe this isn't a bad thing.


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