See which 1980's predictions of the future have actually happened

| Aug 1, 2013

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The film Back to the Future II takes place mostly in the future of 2015. With only two years left before the rest of us get to experience that future, it seems like a good time for an audit. Granted, some of the predictions made in the film were a little over the top (but who knows, maybe hipsters will make double ties popular). While I'm still waiting for my hoverboard, many of the predictions made in the 1989 classic actually came true.

Hoverboard Meme

10. Handheld computer tablets

Remember that funny little thing called the iPad that came out in 2010? You know, that device that revolutionized personal computing? In this scene a member of the Hill Valley Preservation Society tries to get Marty to donate money using a handheld computer. If anything, the version shown in the movie looks more clunky that the tablets of today. Looks like that prediction passed. Now go do something awesome with your tablet like save historical sites, or play Candy Crush.

tablet
iPad

9. Flat screen TVs

Not only do we have flat screens, but many different satellite and cable providers let you watch multiple shows at once. And not just on our TV, with the internet and streaming services we can watch multiple shows on our computer, our TV, or even on our tablet or smartphone.

Flatscreen TV
LCD TV

8. Video billboards

In Back to the Future’s world of tomorrow, video advertisements are everywhere. With new LED billboards, this is rapidly becoming a reality. Now if we could only have holograms.

Holographic Billboard
LED Billboard

7. Small, thin cameras

I doubt if many people imagined just how much cameras would be a part of our everyday lives. Not only do we have tiny digital cameras, we even have cameras in our phones and tablets. Doc Brown’s camera seems a bit outdated in comparison. But, maybe he’s trying to be retro.

Small Camera
iPhone Camera

6. Video conferencing

Back to the Future was one of many films and shows made during the 80s and 90s that predicted video communication. Thanks to programs like Skype, it’s not only possible, it’s available on everything from your TV to your tablet to your smartphone. They did get it wrong with fax machines though, which were popular just about as long as laser disks and pagers. Too bad they couldn't see email comming.

Video Conference
Skype

5. Voice Controlled Computers

Marty orders a Pepsi from a robotic computer screen when he stops by Café ‘80s. Thanks to dozens of different computer applications, most recently Siri, that has become a reality. What doesn’t make sense is why you would want an ‘80s themed diner.

Talking Computer
Siri

4. Computer/TV Visors

At the future McFly residence, both Marty and Marlene watch TV on personal visors. They can also tell when someone is calling and who it is from the same device. While TV glasses have made several attempts at being popular, they haven’t ever seemed to get very far. Google is trying to change that with Google Glass, which will allow you to get directions, do video conferencing, watch videos, surf the internet, record videos, and more.

Computer Visor
Google Glass

3. 3D Videos (and ridiculous amounts of sequels)

They might not be holographic, but 3D movies are a definite reality today. But only time will tell if they are here to stay or nothing more than a passing fad. One thing is for sure, ridiculous amounts of sequels are popular. Just look at how popular movies like Saw 7 (in 3D) and Fast and Furious 6 have been.

Jaws 19

2. Game Controls

When Marty goes to Café '80s he meets two kids and decides to show off by playing the Nintendo game Wild Gunman. But, young Frodo and his friend are unimpressed. “You mean you have to use your hands?” they exclaim, “That’s like a baby’s toy!” Whatever technology they hinted at might have been beyond what most people could have dreamed up back then, but today its commonplace. Devices like the Microsoft Kinect not only allow you to use your whole body as a controller, now even your voice is used to control your Xbox.

Wild Gunman
Microsoft Kinect

1. Flying Cars

Okay, this one is a bit of a stretch. It’s true that flying cars aren’t as common as portrayed in the movie, but the concept of a flying car has been in the works for quite a few years now. The Moller Skycar is one of many prototypes that is aimed at being a means of transport for anyone who can drive.

Back to the Future Time Machine
Moller Skycar

A surprising number of 1980s predictions actually did come true, and some of them have even been better than what Hollywood was able to dream up. All we need now is the hoverboard.