Five technologies first “discovered” in sci-fi books


Books have the capacity to take you to places. Don’t you agree? They are the best friends anybody can have. Not only do they enrich your mind they also broaden your perspective. They will keep you well-informed, take you back and make you part of the history you weren’t part of. Books are the gateways to the past, present, and future. The main reason why people connect to books is, everybody enjoys a well-written piece of literature. However, the actual reason is that it just sucks you into the story and fuels your imagination.

There are different genres of books that one can enjoy, from romance to non-fiction. If you’re someone who enjoys breaking away from reality? Dwelling in the journey of a protagonist who hops between dimensions or is transported into the future. 

Then you must enjoy reading sci-fi books. Don’t you?

Sci-fi books not only serve for the mere purpose of a good read to a science geek. Did you know that there are many technologies that were first imagined in these books before they saw the light? Yup, you heard it right, there are many technologies that appeared in the sci-fi books decades before their innovation.

Science fiction opens doors for the imagination, Sometimes you’re amongst aliens, teleporting to a different dimension or just visiting your past self or future self. If you’re part of a science fiction show or a book, there will not be a single day that would not be eventful or filled with crazy, interesting shenanigans. Sadly, apart from enjoying the author’s fanciful imagination, there is nothing much you can do about them. No, this is where many are wrong, sci-fi has inspired many real-life technologies/inventions too. 

There are many innovative ideas envisioned in sci-fi books that have become a reality. It is not sure whether the inventors take inspiration from sci-fi books or it is a mere coincidence or the authors of these sci-fi books are time travelers (just kidding). But according to this article, these are the five technologies that were first shaped in sci-fi books. So if you’re a modern-day digital entrepreneur looking for some inspiration to create your next big thing, then binging on the latest sci-fi novels would be a good start.


The iPad is the middle ground for laptops and smartphones. It is easily carryable as a smartphone and it is highly functional as a laptop. In 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to the world. However, if you’re a fan of Star Trek then you would have known that this device bears resemblance to the PADD. The PADD (Personal Access Display Device) made its first appearance in the Star Trek TNG back in the ’80s. 

This device was mentioned as a flat, smooth touch screen surface. And the iPad is that smooth, flat touchscreen interface. This device was visualized more than three decades before the launch of the iPad. Sounds cool right? Ipad itself stands as an example that many inventions were inspired by science fiction novels. 

Credit/debit card

Another important innovation of technology that has changed people’s lives is credit/debit cards. It has saved people from a lot of trouble, you don’t have to carry money around anymore. Swipe your card. Boom!!! Payment is done. Coming to the point, did you know the idea of a credit card was first introduced in a novel Looking Backward that dates back to 1888.

In the book, the hero at the end of the 19th century falls into a deep, hypnosis induced sleep, waking up after 113 years i.e., in the year 2000. And the people in the future don’t use paper money, they pay through cards that consist of credit from the central bank.

Wireless earbuds 

The early CD and cassette players. The earbuds and wired headphones were a trend. However slowly the trends have changed and earbuds have also decided to go wireless. The Bluetooth earphones have gained huge momentum and are the latest trend. For all the people who have read the Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, you would know that these wireless earbuds are visualized as seashells. 

In one of the initial chapters of the book the protagonist Guy Montag, describes the seashells, the thimble radios as something his wife puts in her ears, they produce the electronic sound of ocean or bees humming. It is just so fascinating that the author has envisioned such a device back in 1953 only for it to become a reality in 2016. Apart from the wireless earbuds, there are many parts of the dystopian future of Fahrenheit 451 that has become a reality like the flat tv screens.

3D hologram 

Another mention of Star Wars, it is not an exaggeration to say that many technologies envisioned in Star wars have become a reality. One of such is a 3D hologram, it has been part of many sci-fi books and movies. If you go by the definition, the hologram is a 3D image that is created from the interference of light beams onto a 2D surface. 

This 3D image can only be seen in one angle. However, in 2018, the researchers have created a real hologram. Although it can create images on a small scale. It may not be a surprise when researchers create the holograms that resemble the Futuristic holograms from Star Wars.  

Television signals

The telecommunication relays have been envisioned even before broadcast television has become a commercial issue, In a 1945 manuscript called The Space Station: Its Radio Applications. The author Arthur C.Clarke has speculated that the geosynchronous satellites will be used for television signals and telecommunications relays. 

Bottom line 

These discoveries mentioned above are just a few of the innovations from a long list. Who knows maybe Elon musk has taken his inspiration from sci-fi books or movies to start such interesting projects. At the end of the day, sci-fi books are good reads that fuel your imagination, take you to a different dimension, or a distant dystopian future, bring you closer to the aliens or spaceships. What are your favorite sci-fi novels that you couldn’t put down.