Have you ever seen a technological gadget in a movie and wished it really existed? While some futuristic technologies that have previously been portrayed in films have since been invented, it seems that many of the coolest fictional gadgets remain as out of reach today as they were when they first appeared onscreen. Even worse, some of these imaginary devices may have insurmountable technological obstacles that are hard to imagine ever overcoming.
On the other hand, some of the fictional technologies depicted in older films may have also seemed highly unlikely to ever exist when they were first seen by contemporary moviegoers. When French director Georges Méliès screened his groundbreaking film A Trip to the Moon in 1902, there were probably very few people at the time who would have predicted that humans would actually land on the moon less than seventy years later. There have also been instances when inventors have cited fictional technologies seen on television or in films as the inspiration for their own inventions. According to TIME, Martin Cooper claimed that the handheld communicators depicted in Star Trek inspired him to invent the first cell phone. One can only imagine where we’d be today if someone had been similarly inspired by Star Trek’s warp drive technology.
So in the spirit of inspiring any potential inventors out there, we would like to offer up our top-ten list of cool fictional technologies depicted in movies that have yet to be invented. Since there have been so many different robots and artificial intelligences portrayed in films, we are excluding those types of technologies for this list. (Sorry, fans of Star Wars’ C-3PO and 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL.) However, we did consider all other types of fictional gadgetry, from weapons to transportation. Although some technologies have appeared in multiple films, we opted to focus on one movie for each particular gadget, based on our personal preferences. However, we also tried to give honorable mentions to other films in which similar technologies may have appeared. Keeping those caveats in mind, here is our list of ten fictional technologies portrayed in movies that we wish were real.