4 Real Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction



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. Blast off for knowledge!

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Fahad Hameed

Fahad Hashmi is one of the known Software Engineer and blogger likes to blog about design resources. He is passionate about collecting the awe-inspiring design tools, to help designers.He blogs only for Designers & Photographers.

36 thoughts on “4 Real Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction

  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    US Navy credits E E Smith with coming up with the idea of the CIC in his Lensmen stories.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    What the heck… You brought up both Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov which is a coincidence as I'm replaying Dead Space for the third time. For those of you who don't get it, Isaac Clarke is a sort of conjunction of both authors' names.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    Given all the junk in Earth orbit, we need navigational deflectors.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    The first mention of a Cell phone in Sci-fi that I know of (one that works just like a modern pre-smart phone) was in Heinlein's Starship Troopers written in the late 50s

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    Stanislaw Lem, the sci-fi writer probably best known for writing Solaris, in his 1961 novel Return from the Stars, came up with the idea of e-books and audio books. I am not sure whether the inventors of them actually knew Lem's work, though.

    "I spent the afternoon in a bookstore. There were no books in it. None had  been printed for nearly half a century. And how I have looked forward to them, after the micro films that made up the library of the Prometheus! No such luck. No longer was it possible to browse among shelves, to weigh volumes in hand, to feel their heft, the promise of ponderous reading. The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents. They can be read the aid of an opton, which was similar to a book but had only one page between the covers. At a touch, successive pages of the text appeared on it. But optons were little used, the sales-robot told me. The public preferred lectons – like lectons read out loud, they could be set to any voice, tempo, and modulation. Only scientific publications having a very limited distribution were still printed, on a plastic imitation paper. Thus all my purchases fitted into one pocket, though there must have been almost three hundred titles. My handful of crystal corn – my books. I selected a number of works on history and sociology, a few on statistics and demography, and what the girl from Adapt had recommended on psychology. A couple of the larger mathematical textbooks – larger, of course, in the sense of their content, not of their
    physical science. The robot that served me was itself an encyclopedia, in that – as it told me – it was linked directly, through electronic catalogs, to templates of every book on earth. As a rule, a bookstore had only single "copies" of books, and when someone needed a particular book, the contents of the work was recorded in a crystal. The originals – Crystomatrices – were not to be seen; they were kept behind pale blue enamel the steel plates. So a book was printed, as it were, every time someone needed it. The question of printings, of their quantity, of their running out, had ceased to exist. Actually, a great
    achievement, and yet I regretted the passing of books."

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    Forget the hover board, try the floating city of Laputa (from Castle in the Sky, not Gulliver's Travels). With that sort of levitation, we can produce photovoltaic farms that'll float above the clouds, where nothing can block their light. And with walls that appear invisible from the inside, we can have agriculture float above the clouds, without putting them in danger of storms.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    Technically, hoverboards do already exist (those magnetic based ones) you just can't use them out and about wherever you want. Still though, you can experience them if you have the time and resources to go to those places!

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    the only reason the Motorola flip phone existed was because it looked more like a star trek communicator. Thats also the reason the early ones allowed you to answer a call by just flipping it open as that was how kirk would answer a call

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    The SciShow drinking game. Every time the host touches his glasses have a shot!

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    5:10 You missed the most impressive point. Vern's submarine was nuclear powered. AND it was published more than 30 years before Einstein proved that such a thing was even possible.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    I know Dick Tracy was also highly influential with things like minimizing personal electronics.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    eh hmm Ben Bova: power sat (Mitsubishi and Japanese space), regalith bases on moon (current Nasa study), base on Mars (space x, Mars one). Come on there is a myriad of inventions or concepts in his Grand tour series alone that is predicting what is being done right now or in the near future.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    If there hasn't already been a movie made about Simon Lake, there should be. I mean, he sounds like the Wright brothers of submarines, and his inspiration is interesting, and he achieved real success then you could easily understand the implications of. Hell, his surname even lends itself to a punny movie title! Hollywood, get on that shit!

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    Science fiction has nothing to do with any of these inventions and giving false credit to fiction short changes the real engineers who actually did create these items. It is just another example of the American ignorance of science and math that heaps kudos on the b/s artists in the popular media instead of the real people behind these developments. Neither Heinlein nor Clark ever did anything real in their lives beyond taking out the trash in the morning.Cell phones had nothing to do with Star Trek any more than they did with Dick Tracy (which preceded Star Trek by decades). Submarines were thought of long before Jules Verne made up a story about them.  Only a true bubble head without any real working knowledge of science and engineering would credit fiction writers with real world accomplishments and I find that very offensive. Science fiction is most noteworthy for all the things it gets wrong, rather than what it contributes. You can put that in your flux capacitor.

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    thank you for this video , you just rub this subject in my girls face

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    Hank's a great presenter, the only guy in the world who can use the word 'gosh' without coming across like a nob. Kudos.
    Isn't MK at 6:55 is an abbreviation of Mark? As in the mark 2 or mark 8 or whatever.
    Also, didn't Arthur C. Clarke first postulate geostationary orbits, and their altitudes in one of his books?

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  • September 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    You might want to check out getting glasses that fit so you don't have to keep pushing them up… its anoying… really anoying!

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