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3 startups that are bringing science fiction to life

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Do you ever stop to think about the fact that the majority of technological advances witnessed in some of the most famous sci-fi movies are now a regular part of our everyday lives?

Mobile devices, computerized cars, voice recognition, thumbprint and retina scanning…all of these capabilities that we currently utilize were once just far-fetched futuristic make-believe in films from the 1980s such as Star Trek, Back to the Future, RoboCop, and more.

Today’s startup technology companies are now able to rapidly keep up with modern-day blockbusters like Iron Man, creating things such as bionic exoskeletons and multi-dimensional touch-screens.

Let’s take a look at some of the technologies spawned by famous sci-fi movies and the startup companies that have made those cool “gadgets” reality.

Robotic exoskeletons

When you think of robotic exoskeletons, you immediately think of superhero movies like RoboCop and Iron Man . But Dr. Amit Goffer, the founder of ReWalk Robotics, is a real-life superhero.


ReWalk Robotics provides exoskeletons to quadriplegics and patients with spinal cord injuries that allow them to walk again. The exoskeletons are also being utilized in rehabilitation facilities worldwide.

Fast Company just named ReWalk Robotics one of The World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2018.

Bionic hands

Everyone remembers the ending of The Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker gets a bionic hand to replace the one amputated by Darth Vader in the movie’s epic lightsaber battle.

Chicago startup Psyonic produces bionic hands for amputees based on machine learning technology. The bionic hands are much more lifelike and easier to use than mere prosthetics. Motors inside the hand allow each finger to move individually and sensor technology analyzes movements from a user’s residual limb in order to tell the fingers how to behave.


Aadeel Akhatar, founder and CEO of Psyonic, says the goal of the company is to provide bionic hands to the 11.4 million amputees in the world, 80% of which are in developing nations.

Parallel reality screens

One of the coolest things about Iron Man's spectacular and technically advanced penthouse is the interactive screens he’s able to pull up in order to access the particular information he needs at the time.

Misapplied Sciences Inc., a startup founded by Microsoft and Disney alumni, is delivering this type of “parallel reality” to the masses. With this technology, thousands of people can look at a screen and access personalized information specific to their needs, without the need for any type of special glasses or headgear.

Parallel Reality

Imagine airports, hotels, concert & sporting event venues with large screens that provide useful information and marketing in every possible language. People who suffer from poor vision will be able to read instructions and content clearly. Walls can be lit up with emergency evacuation routes and signs in multiple languages to help deal with disasters.

Misapplied Sciences has already developed this technology and it is based on what they call a “magic pixel.” The company hopes to use these magic pixels in everything from traffic signs to movie screens in the near future.

These are just three examples of the types of technology that were once considered science fiction. There are many more startups working diligently to bring even more futuristic solutions into fruition.

Are we reaching that moment where technology has finally caught up with imagination as we know it? Probably not. There will always be some creative filmmaker or writer who will dream up the next fantastical gadget or technological innovation in their next sci-fi movie or novel. But the time to market for those types of solutions is certainly much shorter in this day and age.

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