Top 10 Real Life Star Wars Technology
I long for the day where we can have our own, fully-working, lightsabers! I mean, I have no idea what I would do with one, probably just cut bread or something, but it would be incredibly cool. Now, we may be a fair bit away from that dream, but there is already technology out there straight from the Star Wars universe, so let's look at the top 10!
Number 10. Tractor Beams Tractor beams were used in the Star Wars universe to draw ships and objects towards another without any resistance. An example of this was when the Millennium Falcon was pulled towards the Death Star in A New Hope. Clearly we don't have massive balls in space that we can suck starships towards, but in 2014, the Australian National University broke the distance record for tractor beams. They were able to drag hollow, glass spheres for up to 20 centimeters, using lasers. Furthermore, researchers have recently deducted that sound could rival light as the source of future tractor beams. Who knows, in the future we may have tractor beams to the same scale as those in Star Wars...
Number 09. Floating Probe Droids In The Empire Strikes Back, the Galactic Empire dispatched thousands of Viper probe droids across the galaxy to locate the hidden Rebel base. Though they look very futuristic, us humans have managed to create a similar device. Firstly, the MLB company built an unmanned aerial vehicle called the "V-Bat". However, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) modified the design, adding a clawed arm, meaning it can use its "vision cameras" to approach a target or object and interact with it. Whether that means diffusing a bomb or slapping soldiers, I don't know. But it's certainly as close as we're going to get to viper droids at this moment in time!
Number 08. Heads Up Displays Luke may be too cool for targeting computers, but we on Earth certainly are not. Many new cars like the BMW 7-series include HUDs that emanate off the nose of the car. Although drivers don't need to know when exactly to fire at tiny exhaust ports on, again, massive balls in space, knowing their speed and navigation is a welcomed addition. There are actually plans to have every future car come equipped with a full HUD on the windshield.
Number 07. Hover Bots Speaking of Episode IV, Luke used a Marksman-H training remote to improve his lightsaber skills. Inspired by the scene, MIT engineering professor David Miller told his students, after showing them the clip, the following: "I want you to build me some of those." And some of those is what they brought him. With help from the likes of NASA, SPHERES or Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites - wow, trying to say that is like climbing four flights of stairs - were created to carry out general tasks in zero gravity. There are currently three of these smartphone-powered droids kicking about the International Space Station. Sadly, they cannot shoot lasers.
Number 06. Droids Who doesn't think R2-D2 or C-3PO are incredibly awesome? And who doesn't want one to be their friend because they don't have any? Okay, that last point may just be me... But we are edging ever so closer to having robot companions. Admittedly, we are some years off having droids like those in the Star Wars universe, however, we already have walking humanoids that can recognise faces and sounds, and move objects. Furthermore, a care-providing robot has been developed to aid stroke victims and paralysis sufferers.
Number 05. Battle Droids Battle Droids were quite useful soldiers for the CIS (Confederacy of Independent Systems) in the prequels. They may not have been as effective as the Grand Army of the Republic's clones, but they were large in numbers. This entry could have actually came under AT-ATs since the real life counterpart looks more like the vehicle than actual battle droids, however, "BigDogs" are the "real deal!" Controlled via remote control, these bots carry an array of big guns and they can climb and walk over any terrain. In addition, they have state-of-the-art shock-systems, articulated feet and legs, a complicated computer brain, and laser-guided sensors.
Number 04. Holograms Those in the Star Wars universe communicate over long distances by using holograms. Again, us mere humans are a little off being able to do just that, but we do have holograms. Whether it's Tupac or Michael Jackson, we're clearly capable of creating a beamed image of someone. Whilst companies have been able to create a holographic display using many camera shots, creating a 3D effect, a professor at the University of Arizona was able to send the first holographic message. The source material came from the use of sixteen cameras, which was then transmitted onto a piece of plastic by two lasers. The object then appeared to hover in space.
Number 03. Lasers Cannons Star Wars convinced us that future guns will shoot destructive beams of energy. And that's exactly what the U.S Navy seem to be heading towards. The USS Ponce has a mounted laser cannon, which has been used to destroy drones and smaller boats. And it actually costs significantly less to shoot one of these lasers than a regular missile. The only downside is that there is no accompanying "pew-pew" sound effect :'(
Number 02. Speeder Bikes The speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi are really awesome. So awesome in fact that the scene on the Forest moon of Endor has inspired a few inventors. One of which is Mark DeRoche, whose company - Aerofex - has built a "low-altitude tandem duct aerial vehicle" prototype. Sadly, when the vehicle comes to market, it will cost between $50,000 and $100,000, and is geared more towards use such as: agriculture, search and rescue, and border control.
Number 01. Prosthetic Limbs With Feeling Because Star Wars has a curse where everyone must lose at least one limb or hand, the universe needed to develop prosthetics. Not only were they very realistic, but they were basically just as good as a regular hand. Our own prosthetics have slowly been getting better over the years. Once again, DARPA have been developing hands that connect prosthetic interfaces directly into the user's nerves. This means the recipient can control the limb in the same, unconscious manner, as a regular appendage. So Luke Skywalker, we're catching up, buddy!
I know that a lot of these technologies still need to be developed quite a bit, but who knows, maybe in one hundred years or so the galaxy far, far away may be a lot closer!