Matt Novak, who chronicles the bright future that never was over at his blog Paleofuture, has picked apart an article published in 1952 that carried the title "Cheer Up! World Will Be Wonderful Fifty Years From Now!" Written by Henry C. Nicholas for Greenville, Mississippi's Delta Democrat-Times, the article polls intellectuals of every stripe, including Wernher von Braun, the Nazi rocket scientist who went on to become one the most important researchers in American rocketry. As one would expect, time has rendered some of the predictions here absolutely crazy (and I say that with love), but there are quite a few surprisingly accurate educated guesses, too. Take a look at the gallery below to find what 1950s futurists got right and wrong in their predictions for the year 2000.
Burt Rutan, founder of Scaled Composites (the company that is busy bringing you commercial trips to space), has just retired. But before he did, he presented one last novel design: a flying car.
Everybody wants to know where their flying car is, but let's just stop for a minute and think about what happens when everybody gets a flying car. All those terrible drivers will suddenly have the opportunity to crash directly into your house from above, and trust me, they will. The EU is trying to get a jump on the problem, with a project called myCopter.
The closest thing to a flying car that we've realistically developed are various types of drivable planes that don't fit into our futuristic fantasies all that well. If this flying car concept ever gets produced it'll finally signal that the future has arrived, especially since it's an eco-friendly gas-electric hybrid.
A world full of flying cars certainly sounds like an impossible dream, but if it did happen, wouldn't it be nice for them to fly automatically to boot? It'd be either that, or we'll all have to get pilots licenses. Carnegie Mellon is indeed working on a system to have cars fly themselves, but not just any soaring car — DARPA's Transformer.
Remember that crazy flying Humvee we showed you? You know, the one the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (also lovingly referred to as DARPA) is so interested in? Well, the design marches forth, this time with a new way to avoid danger: soaring up out of trouble.
Not too long ago DARPA put out a call for a flying car, wanting something that had all the versatility on land as a Humvee, but also had Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities. Texas-based AVX Aircraft is stepping up to the plate, and its concept looks pretty close.
Flying cars seem like a downright-terrible idea. After all, if people can't manage to deal with driving cars without getting into accidents while texting, how would they handle their own plane?
Flying cars are always perpetually a few years away in the future. But the thing is, we have the technology to make them now. They're just insanely impractical.
Inventor Roger Shawyer's antigravity drive could bring George Jetson's flying car into reality. Shawyer says he's working on a version of his superconductor-packing Emdrive that can generate 300 pounds of thrust using a 6 kW input. The idea is to...