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Great Scott! “Back To The Future” Technology That Exists In Real Life

Here’s a red-letter date in the history of science: October 21, 2015. Yes! Of course, October 21, 2015. That was the day that Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly traveled to from 1985 in “Back to the Future Part II.” In the real world, we commemorate that date (and the whole “Back to the Future” franchise) every year as Back To The Future Day.

Many of us here at Abt are big fans of “Back to the Future.” We even listed the first film’s soundtrack among our favorite albums that sound better on vinyl. But now that we’re five years removed from Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s vision of the future, just how much did they actually get right? Does any of the futuristic tech from “Back to the Future Part II” actually exist? Well, we don’t exactly have flying cars, hoverboards, or time machines commercially available right now. But there are still a number of really cool things that we carry at Abt that are in the same vein as the unbelievable items featured onscreen back in the 80s.

Interactive Workout Equipment  

When Doc and Marty first arrive in the future, Marty has to go to the Cafe 80s. When he walks into the nostalgia cafe, there’s a cool mix of futuristic tech with a throwback motif. But you might also notice two patrons at the bar are seated at exercise bikes with video screens. 

Though they don’t really get into it in the movie, we can assume that these machines offer a heightened workout experience. If that’s the case, then that’s something that’s quite prominent in fitness equipment today. Stationary bikes like the Pro-Form Studio Bike and treadmills such as the Nordictrack Commercial 2950 feature video screens that let you stream outdoor trails led by a personal trainer. Some models even adjust incline or resistance to match your chosen path. These definitely come in handy when you’re stuck at home and can’t venture out into nature for your workouts as much as normally might.   

Wall Mounted Flat Screen TVs

Eventually, we follow Jennifer Parker to her 2015 home courtesy of the Hill Valley PD. Aside from her and Marty’s family, we catch a few glimpses at a number of appliances and electronics. One of the most notable ones is the enormous flat screen television on the wall. One minute, it acts as a piece of art. Then the next, it shows multiple channels. That’s exactly what the Samsung Frame was designed to do. TVs have also been getting thinner and thinner since the 80s. The LG 65″ GX 4K HDR Smart OLED TV is only 0.8 inches deep, while their WX 65” Class Wallpaper 4K Smart OLED TV is astonishingly 0.15 inches deep. When it comes to TVs, thin is definitely in.      

Virtual And Augmented Reality Goggles

The acronyms AR and VR were most definitely science fiction when “Back to the Future” came out. But with a pair of goggles, Marty Jr. was able to watch TV, answer a phone call, and sit at the dinner table with his family all at once. These days, even basic smartphones can access virtual and augmented reality that look incredibly realistic. And dedicated VR products like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Quest bring these experiences to the next level. 

Video Calls

Getting fired is a pretty low point for Marty McFly Sr. in “Back to the Future II”. While the fax machine technology that printed out “YOU’RE FIRED” around the house is slowly fading away, video calls are more popular than ever. With webcams integrated into nearly all laptops and cellphones these days, it’s easier than ever to video chat with your friends and family on the go. And devices like the Google Chalk Nest Hub Max or the Facebook Portal Mini are specifically designed to keep you connected at home. 

Home Automation & Smart Assistants

And speaking of keeping you connected at home, another common sci-fi trope is the smart home. For some movies, that means an evil computer program taking over a house and terrorizing the inhabitants. In “Back to the Future”, the trope manifests in a voice-activated, house-wide control system. The McFlys of 2015 use it to summon a fruit bowl from the ceiling, turn on the lights, answer the phone, and more.

Home automation technology exists in many forms today. Smart speakers equipped with virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa can handle tasks like telling you the weather, playing music, or turning on the lights. Plus, they can work in conjunction with Ring or Nest products to add to your home security arsenal. And with more complex systems like Control 4, you can elegantly integrate total home automation into your everyday life, which is basically what 2015 Marty and his family enjoy.

While not everything is exactly as they predicted in “Back to the Future” (Sorry, Cubbies!), the actual future is still filled with wonderful things. And as the Doc always says, “Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

How did you celebrate Back To The Future Day? And what devices have made your future a good one as you patiently wait for your own hoverboard? Let us know in the comments.  

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