The inventions that are stranger than science fiction
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Friday 01 June 2012
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have unveiled a device that delivers needle-free injections. Instead of a painful jab, it uses a jet to administer medicine doses from a gun-shaped gadget. And, as other commentators have pointed out, it looks a lot like the machine Bones McCoy used for a similar task in Star Trek. However, MIT's is far from the first technological advance predicted by the sci-fi serial.
While cloaking devices, tractor beams and phaser stun guns may all still be stuck in development hell, Star Trek's flip-top communicator, for example, is already out of date. Mobile phones have moved on from flip-top "clamshells" such as the Motorola Razr, and smartphones are a lot more sophisticated than even their Star Trek equivalents. Did Mr Spock ever tweet from his communicator? Thought not. Uhura's comms earpiece looks rather cumbersome compared to a Bluetooth headset, and Jean-Luc Picard's PADD isn't a patch on the similarly named (if not spelled) iPad.
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