Celebrating 50 years, Toyota’s Calty Design Research has helped design some of the company’s most popular vehicles, including Camry, Corolla, Supra, Tacoma, and Tundra. But their Baby Lunar Cruiser is a flight of fancy. Inspired by the classic FJ40 Land Cruiser, it has in-wheel motors, airless tires, joystick controls, and an augmented reality dashboard.
It seems far-fetched that back in the 1980s, you could accurately predict what technology we might have in our homes 30 years later. But this BBC broadcast from December 1989 offered nearly spot-on predictions of home automation, flat-screen TVs, wireless charging, voice assistants, smart thermostats, and more.
Filmmaker Davy Force was commissioned to make a series of TV commercials from the future for the video game Journey to the Savage Planet. He’s compiled a video of some of these ridiculous ads, which are like a live-action version of Rick and Morty’s Interdimensional Cable. Some days we could really a pack of Brain Wipes.
The Halfgrid is an environmentally-friendly design for a fully-autonomous urban transportation system. It runs on static overhead cables, decreasing traffic and emissions. Each independently-powered transportation pod is just the right size for a single person. The pods could also be used to move cargo.
Prep for life on Mars (or chilly Fall days on Earth) with Vollebak’s unique hoodie. The double-layered piece will keep you toasty, and its textured design is truly out of this world with a 3D-knitted pattern inspired by the surface of Mars, spacesuits, and inflatable structures. The robot that knits them looks straight out of Westworld.
Autonomous luxury with zero emissions and zero crashes sums up Cadillac’s third Halo Concept vehicle. The slick, two-passenger EV sports a range of self-driving and connected tech. The use of biometric input, AI machine learning, and GM’s Ultifi software redefines how passengers cruise in its serene cabin.
Doehmers Research Lab created this concept electric moped with an awesome retro-futuristic look. Its racer shape is optimized for aerodynamics and a whisper-quiet ride. Designer Torkel Dohmers says he took inspiration from the Honda SS50, melded with synthesizer aesthetics. We would love to see this go into production.
Famed Italian design studio Pininfarina turns its eye towards the future with a sleek and aerodynamic concept car. It would be powered by an electric drivetrain developed by Benteler, and features a flexible seating layout that allows the driver to swivel around for conversation when the vehicle is in autonomous mode.
Google shows off the future of video calling with a prototype system that makes distant people feel like they’re sitting face-to-face in the same room. It uses multiple cameras, 3D depth sensors, high-speed video compression, and a “light field” display to convey an incredibly realistic sense of depth.
Artist Ekow Nimako celebrates African culture through his incredible LEGO brick constructions. His most recent works are constructed entirely from black bricks, revealing their details through light and shadow. His epic Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE, pays tribute to West Africa’s medieval kingdoms through the lens of Afrofuturism.
After 2020 ended, vlogger Hank Green dusted off something he wrote as a kid back in 1990. He wrote a brief essay about life in the year 2020, along with a year-by-year summary of what would be achieved along the way. His predictions weren’t always accurate, but mostly hopeful, and sometimes just plain amusing.
This bit of archival footage that dates back to 1967 envisions a future much like the one we’re living in today. Its ideas of what shopping from a computer and work-from-home video calls might look like are impressively accurate. We also love the retrofuturist aesthetic.
UK tech company Sonantic has developed an AI-driven text-to-speech system that can generate digital voices with much greater expression than others. In this clip, you’ll hear “Faith” a completely artificial voice character act out a story with tremendous emotion. Look out voice actors, the robots are coming for you!
Israel-based Metro Skyways is showing off the design for a flying urban vehicle. The CityHawk would take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but uses drone-like fan blades, specially engineered to limit noise. It’s designed to hold up to six occupants, and could be used as a taxi, emergency medical transport, or a flying limo.
Created by Wired co-founder Jane Metcalfe, Neo.Life: 25 Visions for the Future of Our Species is an upcoming book that imagines how technology and biology might work together to change the future of humankind, featuring insights from scientists, writers, and artists as they dream of what might lie ahead for us.
Best known for his work on movies like Blade Runner and TRON, industrial designer and “visual futurist” Syd Mead was renowned for his ability to extrapolate what might lie ahead for society. This silent clip from DistantMirrors looks back on some of the late artist’s many illustrative works.
Automaker Audi’s battery electric hatchback envisions a day when drivers spend less time driving, and the car does more of the work. Thanks to its Level-4 autonomy features, its steering wheel and pedals can retract when not needed, providing space to relax or work despite its compact size.
Automotive and mobility company Toyota plans on establishing a 175-acre site at the foot of Japan’s Mt. Fuji to build a prototype city of the future. The location, known as “Woven City” will serve as a real world testbed for tech including autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, alternative energy, and AI, among others.
Take a trip back to the 1950s, when appliance company Westinghouse shared their vision for the “all electric” house of the future. While some of the user interfaces are incredibly dated, there are some ideas here that would find their way to homes in the 21st century – and yet others we’d still love to see.
Scientists from the University of Sussex are developing a method of displaying 3D tactile images using ultrasonic waves. The system works by levitating a small plastic bead and rapidly maneuvering it to create a persistence of vision effect. If they can move more dots or move them faster, they could create more complex images.
We spent a week in Tokyo, Japan learning all about Toyota’s plans for the future, as it expands its horizons from conventional cars, to providing mobility solutions for all. The future includes ultra-compact battery-electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and even cars that can adapt to your mood.
Lexus looks ahead to 2030. This luxury electric coupe concept is powered by four in-wheel motors, and packs autonomous and driver-assistance technologies. Its windows are dimmable, and it has an interactive ceiling display that floats above rear seat passengers. With an estimated 536 hp, it can zoom to 62 mph in 3.8 sec.