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Five pieces of Star Wars-inspired everyday tech that I thought we should have had by now

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No, seriously why don’t we?

It’s pretty hard to imagine a world without Star Wars. There are quite a few successful movie franchises out there, but few can boast of having as profound an impact on mainstream culture as George Lucas’ sci-fi magnum opus. I mean, of course I’m a Star Wars fan! It helped shape my notions of right and wrong growing up. As an imaginative 12-year-old, I too wanted to be a Jedi knight, who could wield a light sabre, and move things using ‘the force.’ It’s just that my mother would then walk in and see her child posing awkwardly, making funny noises at inanimate objects, which to her might have appeared symptomatic of indigestion. But, I’m digressing.

Stylistic representation of a 12-year-old me trying to grab the remote from across the table

The point I’m probably trying to make is that even the polarizing nature of Disney’s attempt to convert the beloved franchise into a cinematic universe can’t quite dim my excitement towards seeing people wielding laser swords on the silver screen. I will, however, controversially state that in a lot of people’s opinions entire franchise is literally being held together by the genius of Empire Strikes Back. The most recent trilogy is dare I say not very ‘one with the force.’ That said, there is The Mandalorian, which was truly a breath of fresh air. I mean, who knew a show that dials it back a notch by focusing on the characters and not the spectacle was what the fans wanted? Dare I say, it’s the new hope for Star Wars…until it gets convoluted like everything that has come before it.

Maybe this little guy had something to do with it?

Now, getting back to why I’m putting this article together, there is absolutely no denying the cultural impact of Star Wars. Moreover, something that particularly stands out to me is the nonchalant manner in which some really advanced tech somehow melds into the background. You just got to love how you get a broken hyperdrive fixed like some sort of punctured tyre or how you can just get a ‘droid’ to some of the things that you’d rather not do. This got me thinking about the all the tech Star Wars has probably, and some how we just haven’t gotten by now. Where are the light sabres?! Okay, I get why there aren’t any light sabres, they’re not practical. But, there’s other stuff that just makes sense to have. So, why don’t we have…

1. Droids: This one is pretty obvious isn’t it? Where are the droids? Turns out they’re pretty much everywhere, and they’ve been revolutionized manufacturing for a very long time. So, the technology in this regard has sort of been come very long way. But, you know, where’s C-3PO? Where’s my personal robot that can tell me the odds of making it through an asteroid field? Well, we’re not too far from either. Probably the prototype being discussed in this manuscript could be what we’re looking for. Moreover, the Boston Dynamics is really pushing the limits every year. So, who knows, once artificial intelligence catches up, we might just get our own personal droids.

I need one of these, just so I can tell it to “never tell me the odds.”

2. Holographic: It’s 2020, how do we still not have holographic displays? Turns out, we’re almost there thanks to some fantastic work that has happened over the last decade or so. But, there’s still a way to go in terms of commercializing the technology. Maybe this might be the decade where we crack holographic displays. It would put a whole new spin on “face-timing.”

Imagine seeing traffic updates like this!

3. Speeders: Or, speeder bikes as they’re known in the movies and TV shows, essentially represent the fastest terrestrial modes of transport, regardless of the terrain.

This is cool, until a living teddy bear smacks you with a rock!

So, the question is have we ever considered dabbling with modes of transport that are neither wheel-based nor aerial in nature? So, the good news is that THIS exists! Moreover, companies such as Alauda racing are likely to take their speeders beyond Formula E racing. However, the impact of such a fundamental shift in how we get from one place to another will bring a huge set of regulatory hurdles, especially when you consider the safety of using such vehicles. When you think about it, flying drones in some parts of the world comes with its own set of challenges, so it might be fair to say that it’ll be a while before we find ourselves jumping onto a speeder and traversing across some remote forest moon.

4. Hyperdrives: You have to admit, zipping around from one star-system to another has to be one of the coolest things about star wars. However, it one the things that the writers of this franchise have taken most number of liberties with. As far we go, this won’t be the decade when we finally begin manned interplanetary exploration. That’s proposed for the early 2030s. For now, we’re looking at going back to the moon and commercializing some facets of space exploration. But, there’s a still a lot to mull over and figure out in terms of basic space exploration and navigation, let alone jumping to hyperspace.

Light speed is still light years away, Chewie!

5. Cloning: I’ve left the most controversial one for the end. Way to go, me! But, on a serious note, it’s great that the scientific community at large has come to a consensus on the ethical implications on cloning organisms beyond a certain level of multicellular complexity. So, in all honesty, this is more of a case of something that we could have done a long time ago, but decided against it for the better of humankind. But, we’re not out of the woods yet, and there is sufficient scope for us to start worrying again, if this report from 2018 is to be believed.

Also, these guys can’t aim for nuts!

So, yes, there’s a lot of tech based on Star Wars that we could and should have had by now! But, the fact that technology has come as far as it has, is a reason for celebration. On the flipside, some of the technology we have now seems far more advanced than anything George Lucas thought of in the 1970. For example, the INTERNET! And, maybe we’re lucky to not have people flying around in speeders. Maybe we’re already someone else’s idea of a galaxy far, far away.

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    Shane Rydquist

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