45 years of Star Wars: How far are we from this technology?

45 years of Star Wars: How far are we from this technology?

Star Wars debuted in 1977 and is celebrating 45 years as the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Back then and under the Science Fiction label, one of its attributes was the technology used and shown. Which of the advances and technologies we’ve seen on the big screen are already in place as we head towards the fiftieth birthday?

We have made a list of the advances, some obvious, others less so, that surround us every day and were present even before the first film premiered on March 27, 1977. Today’s kids live with technology, but many of filmmaker George Lucas’ visions are immature and just beginning to see the light of day.

The first human reached space in 1961 and eight years later he walked on the moon. Although mankind has not yet landed on another planet, the days are already numbered. Elon Muskthe tycoon behind Tesla and SpaceX, intends to found the first human colony on Mars between now and 2050. That colonization, the businessman says, won’t be exclusively human, but one of the goals is to teach animal species how to coexist in this ecosystem and begin to inhabit the — so far — lonely red planet.

If realized, one of George Lucas’ main fantasies would come true. yes we have to wait In any case, the proposal Musk made to science is a far cry from what Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, which had the ability to travel to other planets at high speeds, could achieve. It only lasted a few seconds.

Although the word “robot” was first used in cinema in 1927 – precisely in “Metropolis” – the androids created by George Lucas are an unavoidable element of popular culture and are easily recognizable to a large part of the world’s population. . C3POthe humanoid and R2-D2the automaton that moved at ground level and was one of the most valuable “in the entire galaxy” due to its mechanical prowess is almost a reality in modern times.

Robotics has evolved, along with artificial intelligence, to points that were truly unimaginable decades ago. Nowadays it is more and more common to see robots in different sectors and industries. From accompanying adults and children – they have reached this level of specificity -, Replenishment in supermarkets and retail until they devote themselves to task-oriented for the education of minorsamong many others.

Star Wars was another of the famous droids in recent films BB-8, which, due to its format, had working full-size replicas. Although marketed as a toy or technological curiosity of the saga, the sphere robot had a version of spinning master that glided, responded to three voice commands and followed its master, also with a remote control. Another, smaller and manufactured by Sphero, which could be used with a cell phone or a special gadget in the form of a watch that simulated handling it “by force”. If robots already exist for hotel receptionists and other dental assistants, it’s a matter of time before they adopt more autonomy.

Considering the cost of implants and the difficulties that can be encountered in finding fully personalized implants, various initiatives have emerged over the years. Something resorted to 3D printing. Although The Empire Strikes Back – the direct sequel to A New Hope – is from 1980, at the end of the film Luke Skywalker has his hand severed from Darth Vader after he confesses that he is his father. The scene is a pop culture landmark, but what followed was almost a George Lucas vision.

After happens the engineering team puts a mechanical hand on it, which turned out to be an exact replica of his flesh-and-blood version. Although there are currently prostheses that mimic the functions of human limbs, the market for those that function through nerve impulses is small. For example, there are mechanical arms that can do this “Wiggle Your Fingers With Your Mind”, but the offer is wider for those who pick up the objects at the time of folding. There are still few proposals, but the sector is already on track. Printing on tissues and organs such as ears is already being done in industry.

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In various passages of the saga, Obi-Wan Kenobi mentions how far Darth Vader – Anakin Skywalker he has known since childhood – went from human and closest he came to a robot, replacing certain parts of his body with synthetic pieces.

The Landspeeders from A New Hope and the Endor Speeders from Return of the Jedi are almost real. Of course it’s still different than expected. The first to ride Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan across the desert on the way to Mos EisleyThey’re flying cars. Strictly speaking, they float. There are already companies working on their prototypes of this type. PAL-V has shown various models of its flying car over the past few years and although they called it “the world’s first flying vehicle”, its design is more like a wheeled helicopter and that you can save and display them according to the user’s needs. It adds the Klein Vision AirCara car that can spread its wings and fly smoothly.

The Speeders starring in one of the stars most exciting chases From the first three films, they are motorcycles that can hover and move according to the pilot’s instructions. Aerofex has already worked on itself Prototypes of swimming vehicles. Although they now focus more on developing heavy drones for farming, they have continued to develop various models and changed their design. Of course, at the time of presenting their work, the US company confirmed their inspiration for the film. In the case of pure levitation, the closest thing would be the maglev trains — magnetic levitation trains — that Asia has been working on for the last few years.

Virtual Reality (VR) is almost commonplace. More and more devices are being added and large companies are entering direct competition. Sony, Meta, Steam and others wanted to take the plunge and launched their VR headset offerings, but alongside Augmented Reality (AR) has also sought and promoted its place even with the Metaverse. You could already see that in “A New Hope”. And you could even say that Lucas and his team were visionaries.

In one of the first scenes, the latter, having already found Han Solo and the androids C3PO and R2-D2, meets Chewbacca in a “Dejarik” game. a kind of holographic chess (AR). Today the dispute is between the devices that project the entirety of the images in the lens and those that do offer a partial insight into reality. It is still a technology in full development, but the great goal of corporations, although not explicit, is the elimination of physical barriers and the coexistence of technology with the material world.

Princess Leia’s first appearance is over a hologram projected by R2-D2. And that’s just the beginning, because what followed in the film saga was a demonstration of the multiple uses that this technology could have. Among other things, sending messages, military reports, visualization of different zones in real time.

Currently, the potential is also seen, but in the entertainment industry and not necessarily like in Star Wars. Such as the so-called Ghost of Pepper. The case of the “electronic singer” Hatsune Miku is well known does its live concerts with hologramsbut both and better known are Madonna’s presentation at the 2006 Grammys with digital tape Gorillaz, Tupac’s show at Coachella 2012, and Michael Jackson’s show at the 2014 Grammys. These are referred to as “floating holograms,” but they are evidence that the industry is in control towards it.

Various theorists from prestigious universities have endeavored to make it clear that what is presented in the Star Wars saga is further from reality than close. Many explosions were seen in the first trilogy and then in the films that followed, but… How would they be possible without oxygen in space? they wouldn’t happen. Or at least not to this extent. And the same doubt is repeated with the sound of the ships actually traveling through space at high speed, the effects of which are an integral part of the saga. But a physical medium is also needed for its distribution. Once again, the absence of air comes to the fore. Easy, in the real world, they didn’t want to listen.

Of course, a few years ago, a group of MIT scientists created a medium by which a group of photons “interact with one another with such force that they pretend to have mass and combine into molecules.” At the time, various media outlets fantasized about using this precedent to one day be able to make “Star Wars”-like lightsabers, and a spokesman for the researchers subsequently confirmed that the analogy was not wrong. . If one day this kind of technology gets into the hands of ordinary users, it must still be a few decades away.