Top 5 Retro Sci-fi Gadgets that Exist Now – Back To The Future



When Granny asks you to show her how to post pictures of her Jack Russell on “The Facebook” (once she realises that you don’t know how to program the VCR) you can’t help but be reminded of just how fast technology is advancing.

The situation is so much more striking when watching one of your favourite old movies like Back to the Future and realising that, in one generation, we’ve moved countless technologies from the realm of sci-fi, into reality. With this list at hand, you’ll leave Granny gobsmacked at the sheer volume and detail of your technological knowledge. Here are some of the most exciting technologies that have left the silver screen, to make their way into our lives.


Batman’s Shark Spray

20th Century Fox / Shark Shield

Granted, 1966’s Batman was a decidedly less tech-savvy chap than his modern counterpart, but one would still expect him to arrive equipped with just the right tools to deal with the worst the ocean had to throw at him. He did not disappoint, and when Leslie H. Martinson’s Batman found himself caught in the jaws of a huge rubber shark (and some less than convincing animatronics), it took only a single blast from his can of “shark spray” to weaken the creature’s death-grip.

Cramming an air freshener-sized, pressurised can into your wetsuit is generally not advisable though, so someone had to come up with a better solution. SharkShield came to the rescue with their product, which creates an electric field around the diver, surfer or spear fisherman wearing it. The field deters sharks by stimulating their sensory organs to make the human seem less like an appetiser.


The Jetsons’ Robot Maid

Hanna-Barbera / Robodynamics

Let’s be honest; who wouldn’t want a polished steel, well-spoken, robotic servant that never takes a break and is programmed not to judge you for sending it back to the kitchen for more cake… again. A company called Robodynamics is doing their best to bring the Rosie dream to reality with their 5-foot tall robot, Luna.

Luna has been specifically designed to enable users to customise her for whatever kind of work they want her to do around the house. With a Luna app store in the works and a user-friendly operating system, Luna may be our best bet for a robo-powered lifestyle that will require us to do less for ourselves than we could ever have hoped for.


Back to the Future’s Self-tying Laces

Universal Pictures / Nike

From the date this was written, Back to Future fans may have just a few more weeks to wait before the one pair of shoes they have coveted most, since childhood, become available. Indeed, in a movie replete with some of the most desirable gadgets in the history of geekery, it’s fascinating just how many people are losing their minds over the idea of shoes that can tie themselves. As if tying their shoelaces was the single greatest challenge facing modern hipsters, the world is abuzz with news that, on October 21st, Nike may be releasing a real version of the sneakers made famous in Back to the Future. Very soon, the dream of owning self-tying sneakers that flash like tiny 80’s nightclubs may finally be a reality.


Star Trek’s Medical Tricorder

CBS and Paramount Pictures / Scanadu

While the idea of having a real tricorder has exceptionally far-reaching implications for world health and life expectancies of the human race, let’s not overlook the fact that it will immediately relegate “sick days” to the history books. It’s tough to pull off the “can’t-come-in cough” when your boss asks for your tricorder readings so that he can “help” with the diagnosis.

While not able to provide you with nearly as much detail as Star Trek’s Dr. Leonard McCoy seems to be able to glean from his tricorder, the craftily named Scanadu Scout simply needs to be placed on the forehead of the patient in order to measure an array of important physiological metrics. These can then be shared with doctors, or with your hypochondriac friends, depending on the type of response you’re looking for.


Minority Report’s Personalised Advertising

20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Pictures / ABC News

If you’re an internet user, you’re already more than familiar with how personalised advertising has a tendency of following you around like a hungry puppy. Whether you prefer targeted advertising, or it makes you want to build a bunker in your backyard and stockpile canned goods, it’s here to stay. Retailers are already using facial recognition to study consumer behaviour in-store and when that technology starts pulling data from your interactions online, you’ll start to see personalised advertising, designed to show you things you didn’t even know you wanted yet. Prepare to be greeted by mannequins that tell you about specials they already know you’re browsing for and come to accept posters with your face on them as normal. All said, these technologies may prove more helpful than the teenage sales staff, falling asleep in a corner.


These are just a few of the gadgets we longed for as kids that are now making their way into our everyday lives. Have we missed any important ones? Drop us a comment so that we can share in the hype.