Back to the Future fans rejoice for today is a very special day. It is finally October 21st 2015, the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown visited in Back to the Future II. After nearly thirty years of arguing about whether we will be wearing auto fitting clothes or driving flying cars the time has come to evaluate how things actually panned out technology wise.
Here is a quick rundown on some of the main technologies experienced by Marty McFly as he travelled to the future with Doc Brown.
Back to the Future 2015: Doc’s Smart Glasses
Actual 2015: Google Glass.
This is a pretty close match in both look and function. Keep an eye out for the dinner scene where the McFly kids see calls coming in on their Glass headsets. In the real life 2015 smart glasses aren’t quite as commonly used however it is an eerily accurate portrayal of how we are so distracted by our smart phones.
Back to the Future 2015: Doc’s Smart Binoculars
Actual 2015: Powershot Digital Compact Camera
The touch focus tracking in Canon’s range of superzoom compact cameras is almost identical to the focus we see through Doc’s point of view in the movie as he tracks Marty Jr. from across the street.
Back to the Future 2015: 3D Jaws 19 – HoloMax
Actual 2015: Hololens
Whilst 3D movies are common in the real 2015, to me, the augmented reality gaming potential of the Hololens is a closer match to the technology that scared the proverbial crap out of Marty. The sign above the theatre describes the movie as being a Holorama after all.
Back to the Future 2015: Electronic Waiters
Actual 2015: McDonalds Easy Order Kiosks
Not quite a virtual Michael Jackson or Ronald Reagan taking your order, but nonetheless a screen that takes your order in a fast food outlet is pretty common place today.
Back to the Future 2015: Hoverboard
Actual 2015: Hendo Hoverboard
2015 saw Lexus create a real life Hoverboard using a six figure budget, a magnetic track and lots of liquid nitrogen. The Hendo Hoverboard however is a real product that you may well see in a toy store or skate shop in the not too distant future.
Back to the Future 2015: Thumb Print Payment
Actual 2015: iPhone Fingerprint Scanner
As we reach pin number and password overload in the real 2015, finger print scanners in mobile phones are becoming more common as a way of unlocking apps and devices. Wireless payments like tap to pay on Visa and Mastercard are now an everyday feature of modern life. Once again Robert Zemeckis was pretty much on the money with this one.
Back to the Future 2015: Video Call
Actual 2015: Facetime/Skype/Hangouts
This is one of the most accurate predictions from the movie. These days we take for granted the ability to video chat with friends and family no matter where in the world we are. Robert Zemeckis take a bow.
Back to the Future 2015: Scenery Channel Window
Actual 2015: Smart TV Screen Savers
With flat screen TV’s of up to 100″ becoming a regular fixture in our homes add in an Apple TV with exotic landscapes as screen savers and voila you have future Marty McFly’s faulty window that streams landscapes from the Scenery Channel.
Back to the Future 2015: Voice Controlled TV
Actual 2015: Apple TV with Siri voice control
The latest Apple TV is probably the closest equivalent to the TV we glimpsed Marty McFly Jnr use. Today we have voice and gesture control in consoles like Xbox One as well as Smart TV’s and set top boxes.
Overall you have to take your hat off to how accurate this late 80’s vision of the future turned out to be. The twenty minutes or so of Back to the Future II that is set in the future 2015 really captured the imagination of an entire generation. So much so in fact, that most people fail to recall that only a relatively small part of the movie was actually set in the future. After watching the movie again, I once again find myself obsessing on trying to figure out ways of getting my copy of ‘Old Grays Sporting Almanac 1950 – 2000’ into the hands of the 1987 version of myself.
Below is a best of the rest of the future technology featured in the movie that isn’t quite as common in the real life 2015.
- Flying Cars
- Self Drying Clothes
- Black and Decker Hydrator
- Pizza Hut Dehydrated Pizza
- Time Machines