Sci-Fi in the Real World

Growing up I was always a huge fan of movies, especially anything Sci-fi. It is one of the reasons I love the career I am in – I get to work in a field that is ever evolving with the newest technologies from ranging from robotics to automation. Doing research on these articles I write every week gives me a chance to read about all sorts of new breakthroughs that are being developed every day. It got me thinking, what technologies that used to amaze us in films when we were kids have become ubiquitous in our modern world? Here are a few…

Robots are everywhere

The first futuristic technology we saw a lot of in old 80’s movies were robots. From the Terminator, to Robo-Cop and even Short Circuit, “Johnny Five is Aliiiiive!” Robots that could, with complex articulated movement, perform advanced tasks were purely a thing of fiction. Now? Robots are everywhere in manufacturing and are rapidly becoming more advanced by the day. Let me present to you a robot playing ping pong.

Or this video of a robot picking up a single sheet of paper.

We now have robots such as the Fanuc M-2000 that have a lifting capacity of 2.3 tons. Here is one manipulating a 2500 pound train wheel.

You can just create just about any object, with lightning speed.

One of the coolest gadgets in Sci-fi I remember growing up were the replicator devices in Star Trek. In an instant you could, with the press of a button, create any object you wanted. While useful in the show, these things were constantly breaking or malfunctioning at times most convenient for the plot. Of course, while we are a long way from being able to make anything, we are getting close. Check out this video of a bust of Darth Vader being made on an OKUMA MU-5000v CNC machine

Video advertising

Years ago, I was driving through Atlanta when I saw my first electronic billboard. I remember turning to a friend of mine and enthusiastically yelling “that’s from Blade Runner!”. All I got in return was a confused look. But in the movie, you got a shot of this huge futuristic version of Los Angeles and as the camera pans through you see animated billboards everywhere. I remember how cool it was but also how farfetched it seemed. I mean at the time, the largest tube television I had ever seen was only around 40 or so inches and considered “big screen”. No way could that ever be billboard sized. Now, not only do they exist, but electronic billboards are found in nearly every major city to such a degree that some are calling for there to be a ban on them due to the light pollution and driver distraction they may cause.

Comment below and tell us about technology you use today that was very recently only science fiction! Also be sure to visit us online at or call us at 1-877-249-1701 to learn more about our services. We’re proud to offer Surplus, Complete Repair and Maintenance on all types of Industrial Electronics, Servo Motors, AC and DC Motors, Hydraulics and Pneumatics. Please subscribe to our YouTube page and Like Us on Facebook! Thank you!

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