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Nike Mags 2015
5 'Back to the Future' Techs We're Psyched Exist
By Tracy Staedter,
Discovery News, 21 October 2015.

Happy "Back to the Future" Day. In the film of the same name, Marty McFly and Doc Brown use a time-traveling DeLorean to fly from the year 1985 to Oct. 21, 2015. What they find is a world filled with a lot of the futuristic technologies that exist today: flat screen televisions, 3-D movies, drone cameras, tablet PCs, and thumbprint payments from mobile devices - just to name a few.

A quick search around the Internet and you'll find several articles swooning over these movie props as predictions and a whole other group of people criticizing the swooners.

Here at DNews World Headquarters, we're not going to call the props predictions and we're not going to criticize the swooners. We liked the movie (the first one, better than the other two, if truth be told) and we love the future of technology.

Imagining a world that could be is a kind of optimism held by many of the innovators we feature on our site, and even though some of the technologies featured in the movie are not ubiquitous, the fact that folks are working on them is enough, no matter what the reason.

Here are five of our favourites.

1. Hoverboards


Yeah, we know. We don't yet have free-ranging hoverboards like the one Marty McFly used, but the same kind of magnetic levitating technology used in commercial high-speed rail is being applied to personal recreation.

Last week, Arx Pax unveiled their Hendo 2.0, a board that floats on a magnetic field. And earlier in the year, Toyota's luxury car brand Lexus released a teaser video of their hoverboard prototype. Sure, you can be all grumpy that these boards aren't ubiquitous, but try to find some joy in the fact that they're in the works.

2. Converting Waste to Fuel


At the end of the first "Back to the Future," Doc Brown arrives in his modified DeLorean, which runs on garbage. Converting waste to fuel is certainly a part of our modern world.

Hyundai has been testing a crossover vehicle that runs on hydrogen gas derived from excrement. In the U.K., a new power plant is being built to convert 214,000 tons of waste each year into 11MW of electricity. And almost everyone knows that landfills are an excellent source of methane.

3. Flying Cars


We can't travel back or forward in time, but several companies are working on flying cars. MIT-affiliated private company Terrafugia was among the first. This summer, they released new designs for their TF-X flying autonomous vehicle. The Jetsons-style auto-airplane hybrid has vertical take-off and landing capabilities and is designed to be FAA-approved in the air and street legal on the roads.

4. Drone Walks Dog


In "Back to the Future II," a scene that shows Marty McFly prowling his old neighbourhood at night also gives us a glimpse at what the future of unmanned aerial vehicles could bring: a dog-walking drone. It's not the most responsible thing, because (a) what if something happens? and (b) who picks up the poo? But New Yorker Jeff Meyers, an interaction designer, posted a video on Vimeo that showed it was possible.

5. Nike Power Laces


Inspired by the self-lacing shoes in the movie, Nike released 1,500 Air Mags in 2011. Back in 2014, Nike designer Tim Hatfield told the shoe blog, Solecollector, that we'd be seeing power laces in 2015. Yesterday, Nike tweeted the following to Michael J. Fox, who played Marty McFly in all three movies: @realmikefox see you tomorrow.

It's about 12:00 p.m. EST and we have no updates for you, but stay tuned. Power laces just might be a thing.

Top image: Nike Power Laces. Credit: Nike.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Top image and some links added.]