Metalforming Tips Blog

5 Manufacturing Technologies Inspired by Science Fiction

interior of a tesla, as viewed from the driver's seat

It’s hard to believe that we’re now living in 2020. We may not have flying cars or robot servants, but many technologies predicted in sci-fi books, movies and TV shows are now a reality.

Here’s a look at some current manufacturing technologies that were inspired by science fiction stories.

Exoskeletons

In Aliens, Ripley dons a now-iconic exoskeleton to defeat the alien queen. Instead of fighting aliens, the real-world versions of exoskeletons are designed for more practical applications. Comau’s Exoskeleton Mate is designed for factory workers engaged in manual activities, to reduce strain on their bodies.

 

3D Printing

Star Trek’s replicator can create and recycle a wide variety of organic and synthetic matter. While technology still can’t conjure food from nothing, manufacturers have created and innovated 3D printers to service any number of applications. Stratasys produces a whole line of 3D printers for industrial purposes.

 

Self-Driving Cars

After the 1964 World’s Fair, science fiction author Isaac Asimov penned an article imagining what inventions would be at the World’s Fair in fifty years. On that list were “robot-brain” cars that could drive themselves. And fifty(ish) years later, this is quickly becoming a reality. All Tesla cars come equipped with Autopilot features that the company has plans to roll out into full self-driving capabilities in the future.

 

Bionic Limbs

Marvel’s Iron Man uses his exosuit to fly, shoot rockets and defeat foes. In the real-world, bionic limbs can’t shoot projectiles, but they can mimic the look of science-fiction characters like Marvel’s Iron Man and Halo’s Master Chief. Limbitless Solutions manufactures unique prosthetics for children that make science fiction a reality.

 

Virtual Reality

Movies like Johnny Mnemonic and Hackers feature virtual reality interfaces combining visors and hand-controlled motion sensors. Now, companies like Oculus, Sony, HTC VIVE and more have brought virtual reality into both the consumer and business spheres.

 

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photo credit: Bram Van Oost accessed 01/20 via CC0