Great Scott! It’s Back to the Future Day – the date Marty McFly and Doc Brown crashed the future in the second of the three time-hopping sci-fi adventure films.

The sequel was released in November 1989. And watching it back nearly 26 years later, it’s impressive to note how many tech trends it predicted, even if it also contained its fair share of misfires.

From TV tech to smart homes, modern life reflects the Hill Valley of 2015 in plenty of ways, which is especially impressive when you consider that there was no concept of an Internet at the time. And even where the movie didn’t get it quite right (where is my food re-hydrater?), you’ll be surprised at how close it came. Except about the prevalence of fax machines, obviously.

Fingerprint Door Locks

Multiple companies today offer door locks you can install that unlock doors not with a key but a fingerprint sensor.

Virtual Windows

The McFly home had a big digital screen on the wall that could display various outdoor scenes. These are available now.

Hanging Gardens

These come in a wide variety of forms, though there are not yet any that can descend and retract from the ceiling on command.

Roll-Up Flatscreen TVs

A roll-up flatscreen shown in the McFlys’ home is reminiscent of the flexible panels LG recently showed off. Meanwhile, voice-controlled televisions are already a reality!

Video Phone Calls

Today, Skype works on some smart TVs, as well as through Microsoft’s Xbox. Sony is reportedly working on something similar for PlayStation.

Personal CC Readers

Remember when Marty whipped out his credit card and zipped it through a nearby card reader? Smartphone owners can do this today with a credit card reader dongle.


Doc’s visor & goggles allowed the kids to watch TV and answer the phone, while Doc had a rear-view camera display in the DeLorean. Many of today’s big names are betting on various forms of the tech.

Voice Activation

Young Jennifer turns on the interior lights (by accident) with a voice command. Marty Jr. calls for fruit from the hanging garden. Plenty of products offer voice activation in the here and now.


We were stoked to learn that a real-life hoverboard is now in the works after being successfully funded on Kickstarter. Let’s all take up skateboarding now so we can be ready — varoom! Liftoff.

Alternative Energy

“Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor” converted household waste into energy to power the DeLorean. Today, some companies are turning landfill gas into low carbon fuel for cars and trucks.

Self-Lacing Shoes

Back in 2011, Nike released a limited-edition self-tying high-top sneaker just like the one in the movie, but it’s not a product for the masses — yet.

Flying Cars

AeroMobil has come up with a stunning prototype for a flying car, but who knows how long it will be until we’re driving them.

There are many other speculative technologies shown in the film that haven’t come to pass yet, such as the organ replacements Doc gets to extend his life, size-adjusting clothes, suspended animation dog kennels, holographic movie theaters, and the microwave-replacing “hydrator” that cooked an entire pizza in three seconds.

Others could probably be done, but no one’s attempted them yet.

The Back To The Future movies have taught us that anything’s possible – the poster advertising surfing in Vietnam must have seemed crazy to Americans in 1989 considering their all-too-recent conflicts, but like some of those unlikely inventions, it’s now a reality. Truth really is stranger (and more awesome) than fiction.