Top 5 Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction Entertainment

The innovators behind objects like the cellphone or the helicopter took inspiration from works like ?Star Trek? and “War of the Worlds.”

1. Submarine

Known as the father of the modern submarine, American inventor Simon Lake had been captivated by the idea of undersea travel and exploration ever since he read Jules Verne?s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870. Lake?s innovations included ballast tanks, divers? compartments and the periscope. His company built the Argonaut?the first submarine to operate successfully in the open ocean, in 1898?earning him a congratulatory note from Verne.

2. Helicopter

While Jules Verne is perhaps most famous for his fictional submarine, the Nautilus, the French author also envisioned the future of flight. Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the modern helicopter, was inspired by a Verne book, Clipper of the Clouds, which he had read as a young boy. Sikorsky often quoted Jules Verne, saying ?Anything that one man can imagine, another man can make real.?

3. Rocket

Robert H. Goddard, the American scientist who built the first liquid-fueled rocket?which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926?became fascinated with spaceflight after reading an 1898 newspaper serialization of H.G. Wells? classic novel about a Martian invasion, War of the Worlds. As Goddard would recall later, the concept of interplanetary flight ?gripped my imagination tremendously.?

4. Atomic Power

In 1914, H.G. Wells published a novel, The World Set Free, imagining the emergence of ?artificial? atomic energy by 1933, followed by a devastating world war and the eventual emergence of a peaceful global government. Physicist Leo Szilard read the book in 1932, which inspired him to solve the problem of creating a nuclear chain reaction?in 1933. The same book would inspire Szilard to campaign for arms control and the peaceful, international use of nuclear power after World War II.

5. Cellphone

Martin Cooper, the director of research and development at Motorola, credited the ?Star Trek? communicator as his inspiration for the design of the first mobile phone in the early 1970s. ?That was not fantasy to us,? Cooper said, ?that was an objective.?