If there is one prop from the old Sci-Fi movies – that clearly signals that we are indeed watching a Sci-Fi movie – it would have to be the crazy transport gadgets. Yes, nothing screams “the far distant future of 1997” louder than teleports, jetpacks and even hover shoes. But the year of 1997 has long passed, and when we look through the window there are no flying cars. Is the future we have always dreamed of all but lost? Well, not quite. Just a little bit behind the schedule. Let us take a look at some of the vehicles and gadget that prove that the day when our childhood dreams will come true is not that far.
One of the rare vehicles that escaped the imagination of the Sci-Fi authors are definitely unicycles. Surprisingly, they’ve managed to overcome their inherent silliness and position themselves at the head of the column leading the personal transport revolution currently brewing on the horizon. And when you think about that for a moment, it does make sense. They are small and convenient enough. Pack them with sleek design and self-balancing system and you will get yourself a jackpot.
There should not be any doubt about this – At some point, humanity will mass produce affordable jetpacks, and people will fly across the city skies. The idea is just too good to be wasted. As for now, the first commercially available jetpack is expected to hit the market later this year. Its design may be way clunkier than we would like it to be, and its price may be a bit too much for large majority of people ($150,000), but hey, who are we to complain. The progress is being made.
Although we would like to talk more about flying cars, the harsh reality is that we will have to spend quite some time stuck with lightweight micro cars before they learn to spread their wings. Commonly used in Sci-Fi movies to illustrate oppressive and crowded nature of future megacities (e.g. Terry Gilliam’s Brazil), microcars proved to be surprisingly useful when our cities truly became oppressive and crowded. The buzz Mercedes created with its Smart division proves that we will see more and more of these fellows roaming the future streets.
Another consolation prize for the absence of flying cars – hoverboards and hover pads, are on the brink of becoming mainstream. As a matter of fact, Californian startup called Hendo already created a fully functional hoverboard back in 2014. Sure, this product is far from being commercially viable, but it is good to know that at least some of the things we saw in Back to the Future Part II actually came into existence by 2015.
Segways were one of the first vehicles to spearhead this personal transport revolution, but unfortunately they have not clicked with the audience as much as their creators have hoped. So, are segways dead? Probably, but the swegways are alive and well. They are more sophisticated, sleeker, and more affordable. Sure this may count more as an evolution than a revolution, but mark our words – Self balancing scooter is here to stay.
Less ambitious, albeit more affordable cousin to the previously mentioned swegways. Given the fact that the first one of them was created in 1974, we even hesitated to call the electric skateboard a transport device of the future at all. But, thanks to the companies like Carbon this concept made a welcomed return and once again connected with the audience. As the time goes by, electric skateboards can only become more refined and functional.
These were some of the most interesting or probable personal transportation inventions we may see conquering the busy cities of the near future. Are we going to fly with our own backpack-sized jetpacks any time soon? No. But, as far as consolation prizes go these devices are awesome.