Star Trek gets lots of credit for predicting or inspiring future technology. But America’s longest running animated family has caught more than few glimpses of the future, and technology of tomorrow is no exception. Here’s just the biggest ten:
10. 3D Printed Cake
In the episode “Future Drama” we get this wonderful camera that instantly transforms pictures into three dimensional edible cake. Back in 2005, this was a wonder of the future. Since 2012, edible food has been mass printable, nearly turning the cake baking industry on its head.
Called ‘Yard Work Simulator’ in Season 9, this joke of video-game has become almost depressingly real. Though, the Simpson’s prediction that it would be mostly young people is a bit off of the modern stereotype. Still, with over 110 million players, the Facebook game has certainly exceeded it’s Springfield start.
This one gets double points for not only being a gag, but being a joke made by dolt of the century Homer Simpson. Created by Dr. Frink in 1998, the eadible earmuffs were an example of combining two things to make something new. Now, several shops have started selling cotton versions of Homer’s brilliance for about $15. Not edible though. Homer would be disappointed.
7.The Baby Translator
Invented by Homer’s brother Herb in “Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes”, the wonderful Baby Translator measured pitch and volume of the baby’s babbling to get at it’s meaning. In 2009, app developer Biloop Technologic tried to replicate this wonderful success. The app they developed could supposedly tell if the baby was hungry, in pain, tired, or needed to be changed. Surprisingly, it is accurate 92% of the time if the infant is under two weeks old.
6. Airplane Restaurant
To celebrate Marge and Homer’s [REDACTED] wedding anniversary, the Simpsons family went to the “Up, Up, and Buffet”, a re-purposed airplane now serving as a restaurant. Filled with the typical crowding of all airplanes and some mock turbulence shaking up the meal, the experience could have gone better. Fourteen years later, a company in Colorado (creatively called the Airplane Restaurant) opened its doors. Still running strong after another fourteen years, it’s no doubt seen it’s share of Homer’s and Marge’s.
Today, this ubitquitous technology is the bane of communication. But like true hipsters, the Simpson’s were poking fun at the problems of autocorrect back in the eighties. In “Lisa On Ice” Dolph types up a quick memo to “Beat Up Martin” which his device (in proper autocorrect fashion) changes to “Eat Up Martha”. Apple employees have said this episode directly influenced the desing of Iphone keyboard and autocorrect itself.
Since 2013, the computer watches, with wifi, phone capabillities, and speakers have been popular at gadget stores the world over. While rather new in the real world, the Simpson’s brought such technology to our attention way back in 1995. In another far future episode “Lisa’s Wedding”, we see Lisa’s fiance call on a watch to arrange his proposal. And then follow it up with the Cow Proposal. Something I hope catches on just as well.
3. Left Handed Stores
Appearing in the Simpsons as Flander’s independent business the Leftorium, the shop sold exclusivly left handed items (left handed ledgers, left handed bottle openers, and so on). Founded after being kicked out of his pharamacy job, the store was referenced all the way from season 3 to season 26. In 2008, Flander’s dream became a wonderful reality in San Fransisco a store called Lefty’s opened. The store sells mugs, cooking supplies, and musical instruments adjusted for left handed customers comfort.
2. Sarcasm Detector
Dr. Frink is at it again with the much needed Sarcasm Detector. Debuting in 1999, the dectector is almost reality. Currently being developed by David Bamman and Noah A. Smith, researchers at Universities in California and Washington, the finished product will use an algorithm to detect sarcasm in written text. It does this by scanning all tweets with #sarcasm to find common trends. According to recent releases, the algorithm recognizes sarcasm 85% of the time (better than your average fleshy human), and is only getting more accurate as it goes.
1. Blood Spraying Billboards
The Itchy and Scratchy movie, back in Season 4, was advertised the only way something that demented could be: Billboards spraying blood onto unsuspecting victims that drove by. In particular, the Billboard hit an unsuspecting pair of newly weds, just hitched. Seventeen years later, a different movie about a blood splattered bride stole the advertising trick in New Zealand. The Kill Bill advert was designed by Saatchi and Saatchi, spraying red paint onto nearby white cars. Sadly (or luckily, I guess), the red paint only landed on the pre-parked prop cars.