Top 5 Hollywood Inspired Inventions Come to Life

From James Bond?s gadgets to the self-driving cars in ?Total Recall?, we look at how the movie industry has influenced the technology of today.

1. Virtual Reality

?The Matrix? (1999), ?Total Recall? (1990) and ?Welt am Draht? (World on a Wire)?back in 1973?all envisioned what virtual reality devices might look like. A few decades on, the commercial release of ?Oculus Rift,? a simulated reality headset, is widely expected. This follows an online crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter that started in September 2012 and has raised $2.4 million. Projects similar to Oculus Rift include Sony?s ?Project Morpheus? and the University of Southern California?s ?Project Holodeck.?

2. Self-tying Laces

Self-tying laces caught the public imagination in ?Back to the Future II,? and in 2011, Nike sold $6 million?s worth of replica versions of the shoes seen in the movie. However, these lacked the actual ability to tie themselves. In 2014 though, a leading Nike sneaker designer, Tinker Hatfield, told the media the brand would unveil shoes with actual ?power laces.? In early 2015, Tinker Hatfield confirmed at the Agenda Trade Show, in California, that he and his team would deliver the ?Nike MAG with Power Laces.? Plans for two alternative versions have featured on Kickstarter, including Blake Bevin?s ?Power Laces? and Frederick Labbe and the Powerteam?s ?Powerlace Advanced auto-lacing shoe technology.?

3. Lasers: Watch & Glasses

In three iconic James Bond films ? ?Never Say Never Again?, ?Goldeneye? and ?Die Another Day? ? a laser wristwatch that could incinerate items from meters away was one of the superspy?s must-have gadgets. ?Never Say Never Again? in 1983 featured a balloon-zapping Rolex, but it took until November 2014 for somebody to create and advertise such a gizmo online. The inventor?s name: Priebe. Patrick Priebe. A German inventor, who is fascinated by laser technology and comic book-inspired gadgets, Priebe has also successfully designed his own version of Iron Man?s gauntlet and lasers and Spider-Man?s web-shooter.

In the X-men comic book saga, mutant-superhero Cyclops is recognizable for the ?optic blasts? (laser beams) he emits from his eyes and the protective eyewear he wears to control it. The first X-men movie made into the big screen in 2000 and six sequels have followed. Fourteen years on, while no mutant has been discovered, Patrick Priebe (see slide three) has created eyewear or ?laser eyes? which he describes as ?burning stuff with vision?. Priebe has also created his own electromagnetic version of the metallic retractable ?Wolverine Claws? featured in X-men.

4. Driverless Cars

?Total Recall? (1990) features self-driving taxis called Johnny Cabs?, that are operated by artificial intelligence, while 1993?s ?Demolition Man? had voice-activated, autonomous cars. Driverless cars also featured in the ?Minority Report,? ?Demolition Man? and ?I, Robot.? Fiction was seen becoming reality, Google announced that test trials would commence in the U.K. on the latest prototype of its driverless car. Designs for autonomous cars date back to the 1920s however. Radio-controlled cars were made in 1926 and during the 1980s, Ernst Dickmanns and Germany?s Bunderwehr University created the first ?robot car?.

5. Invisibility Cloak

Featured in both the book and the movie version of ?Harry Potter and the Sorcerer?s Stone? (2001), the young wizard?s invisibility cloak was what any kid would?ve wanted at the time. The U.S. University of Rochester detailed on its website how scientists were at work on a ?Rochester Cloak? that could make objects invisible using lens-based technology and optical illusion. The university has since filed a patent for the cloaking device.