Design Visions of the Future: We’re Not (Quite) There Yet

We don’t have a colony on Mars or even the Moon, we don’t fly to work, and we’re still using combustion engines… what’s the deal? Where did the future go? It’s better to be optimistic, but scientists are making it hard. Here are our best shots at visions of the future, and though we’re not there yet, at least we’re making steps:

Flying Cars

(Images via picsicio, aviationexplorer, posterlovers, metro, csmonitor, jalopnik)

It seems so simple! Why can’t we just soar around like the Jetsons? Attempts have ranged from adding wings to the conventional automobile, to drastically redesigning it in an attempt to create something even more revolutionary (and UFO-esque). It looks like cars with wings are the simplest (relatively) and the most effective so far, as exemplified by the most successful, called the “Terrafugia”. The real issue now, is where do you land at your office parking lot?

Underwater Hotels

(Images via trifter, stylehive, travelpod, vagabondish, winewriter)

Space is the final frontier, but isn’t water first? I always expected we’d have domed underwater cities by now, but at least there are few places where you can see steps in the right direction. Unfortunately, the most famous underwater hotel is becoming a bit dated… created in the 1970’s the Jules Underwater Sea Lodge is interesting, and seems like a good time, but it’s not the booming domed metropolis I was hoping for.

Jet Packs

(Images via gizmodo, davisw, tizona, technabob)

Jet packs are easy, right? The problem with flying cars has always been the weight of the vehicle, so it should be simple to lift one person off the ground. Landing isn’t a problem, because we can gently set ourselves at the front door to the office. In actuality, it’s not quite that simple. The biggest problem with flying people is the fact that humans are so fragile. One mistake when you’re 100 feet in the air, and it won’t be pretty. Add to that stability and control issues, and the short flight time, and it’s just not going to work. The closest I’ve found is a recreational jet pack that uses a spray of water to allow a cruise around large bodies of water, and you know what? It actually looks pretty cool.

Underwater Tubes

(Images via micechat, designingzoos, wikipedia)

Without our underwater cities, I suppose it makes sense that we wouldn’t need giant tubes leading from dome to dome, but at least we seem to have this one down. Whether you’re in the Georgia Aquarium, riding a moving walkway through a giant tube that cuts through their largest tank, or you’re at the Atlantis hotel, watching sharks from below, I have a feeling this will be the closest we’ll get in our lifetimes.

Hover Cars

(Images via burnham-on-seaenglishrussiawalyoubigracingabs hovercraft)

When Luke Skywalker cruised around Tattooine his junky hovercar still put ours to shame. He was hovering several feet above the sand. When you look at today’s hovercars, they look like fun, but a cushion of air isn’t quite what I was hoping for. There’s no denying that the easy transition between land and water is pretty exciting, however.

Flying Concept Cars

(Images via psipunk, autoblog, zedomax, luanpa)

Despite not hitting our previous goals, it’s nice that we’re still planning ahead. Here are some of the coolest flying car concept vehicles I’ve seen, ready for a time when flying to work will make sense, and birds will replace potholes as the biggest transportation danger.