The Car Of the Future-
Meet the Halo Intersceptor. The brainchild of technology concept designer Phil Pauley (whose previous work includes the mini underwater city, Sub-Biosphere 2), it’s a car that, with a few optional extras, can be transformed into a plane, a boat, or a helicopter. In other words, it’s more than meets the eye. “I just hate waiting in line at airports!” Pauley says when asked about his airborne floating car. Currently in talks with various aviation companies—whose engineers have approved the snap-on, snap-off design of the attachments—Pauley is hoping to see the Halo on the streets (and in the skies and the seas) by 2020. He expects it to cost around $20 million—“about the same as one military fighter jet,” he reasons—but if you own this, it pretty much makes you Batman, and that’s worth any price.
The Solar Moped-
It takes a lot to make mopeds cool, but Oriol Guimerà and Joan Cinca of Spanish design firm Guimeràicinca have managed it with the Moto Solar. Nestled inside a cocoon of solar panels—designed not just to collect the sun’s energy when parked but also to protect the vehicle from rain and theft (perfect for New Yorkers!)—this electric bike looks like something from Tron, although, “It was actually based on pill bugs and the Sydney Opera House,” according to Guimerà and Cinca, and was originally created for racing-vehicle manufacturers SunRed. The designers are hoping to find support to build a prototype soon.
What is it? It’s a jacket made entirely by bacteria. Wait, what? British fashion designer Suzanne Lee grows a bacterial culture that forms fibers she harvests and makes into clothes that can be composted after a few wears. In other words, she’s basically growing a new wardrobe out of mold. Where does she grow this bacteria? In a bath of sugary tea, of course. Did we mention she’s British? Is this going to be a real thing? The process already works. It’s just a matter of convincing ordinary people to wear clothes made of dried bacterial gunk. Good luck!
The Blood Lamp-
What is it? A light powered by your blood. Wait, what? Designed by Mike Thompson, it works by mixing a special powder with a few drops of the user’s blood, causing a chemical reaction that gives off light. Why would he do that? To make people think about their energy consumption. Also: It looks fucking cool. Is this going to be a real thing? The lamp works, but if there’s a market for it outside of characters in Saw movies, we’ll be surprised.
Designer Peter Treadway got so sick of the walks at either end of his daily commute that he decided to build some motorized shoes, resulting in SpnKix: strap-on powered wheels that whiz along at 15 mph. “They’re not super easy to use at first,” says Treadway, “but who wouldn’t want to glide everywhere they go?” Costing between $200 and $300, these should be hitting the streets (and streetlights…and traffic…and pedestrians) by the middle of this year.
What is it? It’s a 900-foot skyscraper that’s buried underground. Wait, what? Matthew Fromboluti of Washington University in St. Louis proposed the “Above/Below” project as a way to fill the enormous crater left by the Lavender Pit Mine in Arizona. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, as it’s entirely self-sufficient and climate-controlled. What are the downsides? Well, you’re living in a desert…in fact, you’re living under a desert, which is probably worse. Also: the Balrog. Is this going to be a real thing? Not anytime soon, but when the surface world gets nuked to hell, this is going to be the only option, right, survivalists?
The Jungle Bathroom-
Acclaimed designer Jun Yasumoto wants to make your bath greener—literally. That’s why he and his colleagues have invented the Phyto-Purification Bathroom, where all the water used in your sink and shower gets recycled by plants capable of naturally breaking down the chemicals from soap and shower gel through a process called phytoremediation. (It’s complicated, but rest assured you won’t be brushing your teeth with toilet water.) It’s just an idea now, but phytoremediation is being explored by several companies, so don’t be surprised to see this in the near future. “It would cost tens of thousands of dollars if you only built one,” admits the Paris-based Yasumoto, “but we’re looking at ways to integrate it into a real house. Ideas like building a vertical garden in the bathroom.”
It Might Really Happen! Warp Drives-
Since faster-than-light travel is impossible, the hypothesized Alcubierre Drive would cheat by—and stick with us, because this sounds crazy—manipulating the (entirely theoretical) 11th dimension to make space smaller in front of the ship and bigger behind it, effectively moving space around the ship, rather than the ship through space. If this didn’t sound unlikely enough, it also relies totally on “dark energy”—a little understood form of energy that’s apparently causing the universe to expand faster—to work. Sadly, scientists predict this won’t be feasible for another few thousand years.
It Could Really Happen: Invisibility Cloak-
In the movies, being invisible totally kicks ass: Just think, it kept Chevy Chase’s smug face off the screen for at least half a movie! That’s why scientists are working hard on the real thing, using “meta-materials”—a super- sophisticated mixture of metal and ceramics created through nano-scale engineering—to curve light around objects, rendering them effectively invisible by making the observer see the light behind the object rather than the object itself. It’s still years away from being perfected, but we should see this in our lifetime. Or rather, not see it.