Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, technology was much more interesting than it is in our reality: commercial spaceships fold space time cross galaxies in seconds; autonomous androids capable of translating any language on the fly, or leaving a battlefield in ruins; deadly plasma swords that fit comfortably under your robe.
These classic “Star Wars” technologies have captured the imagination for decades and some of them are finally coming to fruition.
Here are seven futuristic Star Wars technologies that may soon become reality.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (see: battle drones) have been a staple of warfare for several decades, but you’ll never hear two Predator drones fighting like an old married couple, at R2D2 and C3PO. Artificial intelligence is still a work in progress, but humanoid robots (aka androids) have literally made leaps and bounds in terms of skill and design in recent years. US tech firm Boston Dynamics demonstrates this with two now infamous robots: Atlas, a terrifyingly agile bipedal droid who can sprint, somersault and do parkour – and the Robot Dog Spot – an autonomous four-legged robot that has already found work in hospital wards, on farms and with the NYPD. These robots aren’t specifically designed for combat, but we wouldn’t like to run into one of them in a dark alley at night.
Lightsabers are perhaps the most coveted piece of technology for any child who grew up watching “Star Wars”. Made of a retractable plasma blade generated from an invented gem called kyber crystal, combat-ready lightsabers are still far beyond the grasp of modern science. However, creative inventors, such as those behind the YouTube channel Blacksmith – have come up with some clever (and deadly) lightsabers that come close enough to the Jedi’s favorite weapon. In 2018, Hacksmith created the world’s first retractable plasma-based energy sword with a 4,000-degree Fahrenheit (2,200-degree Celsius) blade capable of cutting through solid titanium. The blade requires an external fuel pack filled with compressed propane gas and oxygen, so it’s unlikely to fit on any Jedi wannabe’s belt. But it could easily burn through a human hand, if you and your father want to recall the climax of “The Empire Strikes Back”.
Depending on how your lightsaber works, you may soon need the assistance of a bionic arm, like the one Luke gets at the end of “Empire”. Here is a piece of technology that is no longer just science fiction. Functional prosthetic arms capable of grasping, pinching, clenching a fist and even raising the thumb are increasingly common and some of them are even inspired by “Star Wars”. The prosthetic company Open Bionics, for example, sells a Hero Arm for adults and children ages 8 and up, available in more than 50 styles, including Star Wars and Marvel lookalikes. These typically sell between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000 per arm, according to BionicsForEveryone.com.
C3PO is famously fluent in over 6 million forms of communication. On paper, it looks much more impressive than the 100 or so languages that Google translator he knows, but how often do you really need to ask for directions Ewokese, anyway? On the plus side, you won’t have to visit any shady scrap dealers to take advantage of Google Translate. Simply open the website on your phone or computer, then type directly into the box or speak into the microphone and watch the app translate your voice into the language of your choice, in real time. You will never need to conjugate another verb again!
Landspeeders (high speed hovercraft)
The best way to cross the Tatooine dunes in style is in a Landspeeder – a kind of hovercraft / car hybrid that can comfortably accommodate a family of four (or two humans and two droids, as appropriate). Hovercraft technology has been around since the late 1950s, according to the UK Hovercraft Museum, but only recently have hovercraft designs come close to the fast and elegant fare of “Star Wars”. Several companies are working on real motorcycles in the balance, including the UK-based one Malloy Aeronautics and the one based in the United States Aerofex. Both projects are still in the prototype stage, but these test video of hoverbikes whizzing through the Mojave Desert look promising.
To escape the sandy backwater of Tatooine, Luke and Obi-Wan charter a private spaceship for 17,000 credits. In our world, commercial space travel costs a little more and you can’t even leave solar system. In June 2021, winner of the auction paid $ 28 million to participate in the maiden flight of Blue Origin, a commercial space travel company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The son of the lucky winner joined Bezos and his brother on a 10-minute journey into space, reaching a maximum altitude of about 100 kilometers above the Earth (technically, beyond the point where The earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins). They are expensive 10 minutes, but some the experts predicted that the cost of commercial space travel could drop to around $ 100,000 per person over the next decade. Hurray?
From time to time, Han Solo’s ship, the Millennium Falcon, makes a bold “leap to hyperspace“, allowing the ship to travel extraordinary distances in moments. If hyperspace is the same as” warp drive, “a concept the US government has actively researched, according to recently released documents – then it is a question of distorting the shape of space-time in order to pass from one part of the universe to another. In 1994 the physicist Miguel Alcubierre has published a document showing how warp drive could be physically possible, using equal amounts of positive and negative energy to simultaneously compress the space in front of a spaceship while expanding the space behind it. But for now, the negative energy remains purely speculative, as does the warp drive technology. However, that hasn’t stopped theoretical physicists from investigating it.
Originally published in Live Science.