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19th November 2014

Science has gone supersonic & Hollywood just can’t keep up

I like sci-fi, I really do. But the biggest reason I’m a fan of it: the high-tech, the gadgets, the “WOW” is what I’ve been missing for a while.

After Elysium I started losing faith, then came X-Men with its ever confusing title and I shattered a bit, and now this: Edge of tomorrow, Tom Cruise in an exoskeleton. Again. Iron man is cool, Elysium was still ok, but Tom Cruise wobbling around is not.

Why?

For one, it’s too much: every second sci-fi movie has exoskeletons, get something new out there. In addition, in your last try there weren’t even any features moderately close to cool.

Two, this is real. This high-tech sci-fi stuff exists right now. Mind-controlled exoskeletons help the paralysed walk, dance, or kick a ball. This lady walks for the first time in 19 years, this paraplegic kid starts off the 2014 World Cup, so why would I want to look at a fictional Cruise in 2030 trying to shoot metallic spiders.

But it wasn’t always so.

Going where no man has gone before

Hollywood used to set the pace and science would follow. Movies came up with some mind-blowing gadgets from James Bond’s know-it-all pens to Back to the Future’s self-lacing sneakers : Hollywood was on a roll for a few decades.

Take Star trek: Tricorders could diagnose and treat patients with a hand-held device in a matter of seconds. They could show vitals, diagnose basically anything, compare blood samples, make scans. See, the whole body is up there:

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And science just caught up to it, with the Scanadu, or Cue, devices which measure and track your vital signals simply by placing them on your forehead. Not a full body scan yet but getting there.

George Lucas, creator of the epic Star Wars series came up with some pretty cool medical gadgets too. It’s hard to forget Luke’s worst day where after a fight with Darth Vader which costs him an arm he learns the Dark Lord is his father. But after that he does get fitted with the most high-tech robotic arm anyone’s seen with plenty of wires and sensors, almost better than the real thing.

February, 2014: skip the wires, you have a pretty natural looking real-life prosthetic which can feel. The volunteer of the successful clinical trial could (for the first time in 10 years) tell whether objects were soft, hard, round or square blindfolded. (LINK TO BIONIC HANDS )

From sci-fi of the ‘60s and ‘70s we got to reality after the millennium, so what’s up with blockbusters today? I’d like to think science has gone supersonic and creatives in LA just cannot keep pace.

When Hollywood knocks on science’s door for inspiration

See the exoskeleton is Elysium was actually partially modelled after the Ekso Bionics exo-suit: the Human Universal Load carrier (HULC). Need I say more.

So please Hollywood, get your act together and bring something WOW again. Until, I will have to stick to reality.

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