NASA Is Working on a Warp Drive: Five Other Sci-Fi Things They Should Make Real

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NASA physicist Harold White is boldly going where no one has gone before with his work on a warp drive. White has been working on the project since 2010 and it's so Star Trek-inspired that the designs are modeled on the Star Trek warp drive. Who knows if an actual warp drive will ever exist, but the project got us thinking about some of the other sci-fi inventions of the mind that we'd like to see in real life.

5. Lightsabers. A sword of pure energy that cauterizes the would even as it cuts off your hand! What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, we know, but we'd still like to see the elegant weapon of the Jedi in real life, because it would be cool. There's pretty much no other reason, but somewhere out there someone must be working on this. We're practicing our cool Jedi sword moves already so we'll be ready when the time comes.

4. The Replicator. The replicator has been around since the beginning of Star Trek (though it was called a food synthesizer back then) and it's one of the niftiest devices ever thought up by Gene Roddenberry and company. The replicator worked by taking subatomic particles and copying the particles to create a steak, or, you know, a cup of Earl Grey tea. So imagine what life would be like if actual replicators existed. No more eating sack lunches at our desks. We could all have access to delicious balanced meals and perfect cups of tea whenever we wanted. The existence of 3D printers implies the days of "Tea, Earl Grey, hot." may not be far off, but as of right now we have to microwave water and then do a bunch of impatient stirring before the tea is ready. 3. The Hoverboard. According to Back to the Future 2 hoverboards will be as common as skateboards in 2015 and the floating skateboards without wheels can't happen soon enough. Sure there will be lots of injuries and there's no obvious useful purpose for such a thing, but imagine what it would be like riding one. Right up until you tried to use your hoverboard over water, you'd be on a floating board, just like Marty McFly. It'd be all kinds of awesome.

2. Flying Saucers. Admittedly, NASA people are working on this, and there are even plans in the works to test a "flying saucer" model sometime in the very near future, but we're still a long ways off from having actual working The Day the Earth Stood Still-type flying saucers. According to much of the classic science fiction canon, flying saucers are the de facto mode of travel for all alien lifeforms, so we really need to get on this. Someday aliens will probably land on our very own planet. If they're good aliens, maybe the flying saucer can be our way of showing we have something in common, that we totally get where they're coming from. If the aliens are less like Klaatu and more like the creatures from War of the Worlds (book, radio play or whichever movie version you choose to imagine) the flying saucers will come in handy for fighting the aliens. Maybe.

1. Droids. The concept of droids is creepy, but the idea of real droids could be cool. Sure there would be the phase where everyone walks around telling everyone else, "These are not the droids you are looking for." but eventually droids could become an intriguing part of society. Of course, our society would inevitably mistreat the droids and then they'd become sentient beings and ultimately rise-up against the human oppressors, but it would all be cool right up until then. Maybe there would even be an affordable model droid to drive people to work when they'd rather sit in the back seat and take a little nap. It'll all be very unpleasant until the human/droid social fabric completely unravels, and if things don't go sour between us and the droids, eventually there will be C-3POs running around all over the place.

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