Futurama’s season seven premiere episode aired last week and ushered in a new status in pop culture. After the animated TV show first aired in 1999 and then canceled in 2003, no one thought we would ever get new episodes of the cult TV series six years later when it came back to TV in 2009. It’s has been over a decade and it’s interesting to see that some of the gadgets introduced in the show are quickly catching up to our future reality.
The team over at Topless Robot came up with a list of seven gadgets that are quickly becoming a reality. Some of the gadgets on Futurama are far-fetched but make for interesting future fodder (is there really a need for a thing-longer?). One of the more obvious gadgets we see today in pop culture are the use of holograms. In 1999, they were gimmicks and had very little to no use, outside of entertainment and in 2012, well… they’re still gimmicks and have little to no use today, outside of entertainment. The rapper Tupac has been dead since 1996 but at this year’s Coachella Music Festival in California, the rapper Snoop Dogg performed live (so to speak) with a him via hologram. Apparently, it was very convincing and producer Dr. Dre has planned to take the Tupac hologram on the road with a tour across the US.
In the first episode of Futurama, the career chip was introduced. It was a microchip a career councilor embedded into your hand that designated your career. It calculated the one thing you were good at and gave you a job based on that skill set. For Fry, it was a delivery boy. We don’t have career chips today but we do have the technology to embed microchips into human skin. Dr Mark Gasson, from the School of Systems Engineering at the University of Reading in the UK, had contracted a computer virus after embedding a microchip into his hand. He was doing research on human enhancement and the potential risks of implantable devices. One day the future world of Futurama and Demolition Man will become a reality with this technology.
Lastly, Futurama’s iconic public transportation system may become a reality. In this future world, people get around the city in vacuum tubes that reach above, below and on street level throughout New New York. This technology is called ET3 (Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies) and has the potential to get you where you’re going much faster than a subway, a car or even an airplane. By traveling in capsules in airless vacuum frictionless tubes, patrons can travel at speeds up to 4,000 miles per hour. So making the trip from New York City to Los Angeles will take you 45 minutes instead of more than three hours. Now that’s service!