4 Real Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction

Category: Technology
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Where science fiction becomes science fact - that is the place Hank is exploring in today's episode of SciShow. Many inventions we use today were first imagined in stories that described fantastical futures. Hank talks about the origins of four of these: the cell phone, the submarine, the telemanipulator (or robot arm), and the taser.

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The Airliner

The years following the First World War saw flying take off as serious business. Previously unimagined opportunities opened up, among them, skywriting and sightseeing tours. Flying became a bigger feature of life all around the world, not just as a novelty "adventure" for rich people but as a mode of transport available to just about anyone.

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The Seaplane

Seaplanes saw the dawn of the aviation industry as they could accommodate large numbers of passengers between continents, and only required a smooth body of water to land. Since the 1920's, advances in floatplane technology saw metal hulls introduced, a cantilevered design and single engine. Seaplanes continue to be an extremely popular mode of transportation.

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Living in the City

In the first episode, Andrew looks at how people live in five of the world's biggest megacities: London, one of the world's oldest megacities; Dhaka, the world's fastest-growing megacity; Tokyo, the largest megacity on Earth; Mexico City, one of the most dangerous cities in the world; and Shanghai, arguably the financial capital of the world. Andrew compares the sleek skyscrapers and rapid modernisation of Shanghai to the colourful street culture and geographic sprawl of Mexico City. He spends a night living in a one-room shack in Dhaka's toughest slum, taking his turn to fetch water, cook and clean; and he rents a friend in the efficient and high-tech, but alienating, city of Tokyo. As he gets under the skin of each unique metropolis, Andrew discovers how the structure of each megacity defines every aspect of its inhabitants' daily lives. And he considers what the megacities of the future can learn from the metropolises of today.

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Future Intelligence

Catch a first-time glimpse at smart technology that will put android helpers in the home, network commuters and entire cities to the Web, and bring us entertainment systems that can virtually make dreams come true. Advances in artificial intelligence are creating machines with near human-like mental agility. Intelligence will be embedded everywhere -- even in our clothing, thanks to smaller, more powerful computers.

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Future Flight

Future Flight takes to the skies of tomorrow on board shape-shifting planes, top secret military aircraft and jets with self healing wings.

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Waste of the Future

Innovations are emerging around the world to considerably reduce our waste: development of circular economies, the spread of composting, repair cafes, etc. So, what will it be like in 2050?

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