Back to the future?

Predictions about the future are nothing new in films or television, but one of our favourite films almost got it spot on.

Back to the future?

From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Space 1999, there have been outlandish predictions about future tech and how far advancements would have got us, both literally and figuratively, in space travel. These examples from the 60s and 70s respectively didn’t really deem to look any further forward in time than 1989’s Back To The Future Part (BTTF) II did when it sent Marty and the Doc hurtling towards October 21st 2015.

Yup, that’s right, today is the day that this cinematic duo arrived at when they visited the future – a point that may well have been drummed into you if you are a fan of the films, or if you have glanced at social media today. BTTF made its fair share of technological predictions, from flying cars and hoverboards to drones, smartglasses and Jaws 19. Some of these predictions have come to pass, and while flying cars are yet to become a viable reality, here at Epson we have a somewhat vested interest in smart glasses.

Smart glasses

In the film, Marty Jr and the rest of the McFlys are big fans of their JVC Video Glasses, allowing them to watch TV (and make video calls) on the move or, in the case of the film, while eating at the dinner table. Now BTTF wasn’t far off with this prediction, but it’s clear to see that ‘modern’ smart glasses have surpassed Video Glasses with applications that deliver far more.

There are increasing numbers of products reaching the market, ranging from virtual reality headsets to the monocular visual aid of Google Glass. Microsoft and Sony both took the plunge with Hololens and PlayStation VR respectively, very much aimed at creating virtual worlds and entertainment for gamers and consumers. Google Glass quickly became a ‘mascot’ for the smart glasses movement, focusing less on entertainment and more on real-life applications, and while a strong level of buzz drove the development on applications, its monocular display and short battery life arguably led to Google’s decision to postpone the project, with a redesign anticipated in the near future.

Epson has made its own incursion into the world of smart glasses with Moverio, choosing to focus on a binocular, see-through design that makes it more suitable for harnessing the power of augmented reality. Developers have enthusiastically worked on projects for the Moverio BT-100 and the subsequent BT-200, creating applications that can translate road signs on the move, give you a guided tour around a museum, and even show you how to fix your bike.

Now, the Moverio BT-2000 has been announced, taking the power of virtual reality to industrial environments where hands-free information and support is vital. Workers can be directed remotely and shown exactly how to fix sensitive machinery, or guided around logistics warehouses using built-in sensors and navigation.

Back to the Future….shaping the future?

As for predicting the future, BTTF has also played its own part in shaping it. Lexus has created its very own working hoverboard, taking its lead from the model featured in the film. And Nike and Pepsi, which both lent their names to ‘futuristic’ designs in the film, have delivered in reality with self-tying shoelaces and the iconic Pepsi Perfect.

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