All just science fiction?

Tablets, androids and other gadgets: Inventions that were once just surreal ideas from the history of film have now long since become an integral part of everyday life.

We need vision to seize the opportunities of the digital transformation, and the inventiveness of filmmakers is a shining example of this. From "Star Trek" to "Back to the Future," many of the major sci-fi flicks have dared to take a visionary look into the future. Some of the technology that filmmakers dreamed up back then has long since become reality. Our image gallery shows which visions led to actual inventions, and which ideas are still just dreams for the future.

  • Mobile telephones: In the original “Star Trek” television series, Captain Kirk and his team were using the “communicator” all the way back in 1966. Technologically speaking, the device was nothing more than a space phone, however …
  • … Our smartphones today are considerably more advanced. Still, the “communicator” was a source of inspiration in the invention of mobile phones.
  • Smartwatch: In the first Star Trek movie, the communicator evolved into a version that could be worn on the wrist.
  • … As a result, it can be considered the model for today’s smartwatch.
  • Holodeck: In the Star Trek series, the holodeck is able to simulate and create any kind of virtual world desired. It is a space that is almost entirely a digital illusion. But that’s not all: People could also be part of the virtual world.
  • … Augmented reality and virtual reality are already beginning to facilitate the digital enhancement of reality. Microsoft’s augmented reality glasses, known as HoloLens, enable 3D projections within a space and are gesture-controlled.
  • Beaming: “Beam us up, Scotty”: We can only continue to dream of the legendary and convenient method used by the Enterprise crew to get from the spaceship to anywhere in the world within seconds.
  • Tablet: It is hard to imagine everyday life now without tablets, however. In 2010, Apple launched the first tablet for the general public with its iPad ...
  • ... In the history of film, tablets were in use 40 years earlier, however, including in Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” from 1968.
  • Self-driving cars: KITT from the 1980s television series “Knight Rider” is certainly one of the best-known self-driving cars. However, cars in “Minority Report” and “Total Recall” have long since had no need for (human) drivers ...
  • … While it is still not possible to imagine completely self-driving vehicles as part of everyday traffic, the technology for them already exists. Various companies, from the automotive to the electronics industry, have been working on making these cars a reality for some time. High-profile examples include Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and the electric automaker Tesla.
  • Androids: Fritz Lang featured humanoid robots, known as androids, back in 1927 in his film “Metropolis”.
  • ... Today, robots with artificial intelligence are real, such as the android developed by Toshiba called “ChihiraAico,” which is used as a service robot at a department store in Tokyo.
  • Hoverboard: According to “Back to the Future II,” the hoverboard should already exist in 2015. Michael J. Fox, who played Marty McFly in the 1985 classic, whizzed around on a skateboard that hovers above the ground. While initial prototypes exist, turning the brilliant idea into reality seems to be more difficult than imagined.