Posted 26th October 2015 | By ExtraMile

If you spent any time on social media feeds or browsing the web last week chances are you were aware it was 'Back to the Future day' last Wednesday – the day that Marty, Doc and Jennifer visit in the future in the popular movie trilogy.

So if you haven't had enough of all the hype already, here's my definitive timeline of technology advances, as predicted by Back to the Future...

The late 80s: Self-drying clothes
Although our clothes may not dry as thoroughly as Marty's futuristic jacket, quick drying clothing has been around about as long as the films' franchise. Sweat-wicking or quick drying clothing has been a house-hold essential for sportswear for decades, with brands like COOLMAX® bringing its athletic wear to the market in 1986, but it's now become readily available for everything from underwear and shirts to towels – especially good for travelling.

The late 90s: Flat screen television
Flat screen TVs were in fact already being developed when the films were in production, so not the most impressive out of all the 'predictions'. By the late 1990s flat screen TVs had appeared, making a big impact in the early 2000s, becoming commercially manufactured and available.

2003: Video calling
Video calling has been pretty standard stuff since companies like Skype (which launched in 2003) and Apple's Face time made it cheap and easy to do. Hopefully we won't be getting threatening video calls at home from our bosses any time soon though, like George McFly does!

2009: 3D films
3D technology has been around for a while, but the 2009 hit, Avatar, really revolutionised the technology and the 3D experience with its visually stunning effects. Sadly we haven't been graced with a Jaws 19 yet though!

2012: Electronic glasses
Google glass publicly announced April 2012, to become available in 2013, although the glasses never really seemed to take off. In Back to the Future part II, eccentric science-nerd, Doc, is the only character that seems to sport his pair of electronic glasses, so not only did the film predict they would exist, but also predicted they were only for the super enthusiastic! Google are currently developing new versions of their glasses so maybe we'll see a growth in their popularity in the future...

2013: Thumbprint technology
In Back to the Future's 2015, Biff pays for his taxi via his thumbprint – yet another accurate prediction. Apple have been using thumbprint technology since the release of the iPhone 5s in September 2013, and you can now also use your thumbprint (or finger) to authorise online payments - such as an Uber taxi! This method of payment is becoming more readily available as other companies, such as Samsung and PayPal, get in on the action.

2015: Self-tying shoes
Nike, who sponsored the franchise and feature heavily throughout the films, have cleverly coordinated the announcement of their self-tying shoes with 'Back to the Future day'. This innovative trainer, which is satisfyingly similar to the pair Marty wears, uses technology to sense the movement of the wearer and adapts the support it provides. It's still in the early stages of development, but of course first-time wearer and real-life Marty, Michael J. Fox, has already got a pair!

And lastly, the one that almost made it but is unfortunately a couple of years behind schedule...

2017: Hoverboards
There are one or two 'hoverboard' inventions out there but Canadian company Omni Hoverboards has dubbed themselves as "the first real hoverboard". Their prototype is Patent pending and they aim to get the first products commercially available in 2017. I guess we'll have to put up with "self-balancing scooters" until then...

It looks as though Back to the Future have pretty accurately predicted a vision of life in 2015 – but really how much did they predict and how much did they inspire? Well, as the CEO of Nike, Mark Parker, puts it "by imagining the future, we create it".

Written by Philippa Graham, Lead Online Editor at ExtraMile Communications.


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