Ten Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction

The innovators behind objects like the cellphone or the helicopter took inspiration from works like “Star Trek” and War of the Worlds

Leonard Nimoy, Ep. # 1, 'The Cage' 1966 - 1969 (© Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Second Life

Second Life
(Courtesy of Flickr user alpha_auer)
Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash describes a fully immersive online “Metaverse” where people interact with one another through representations called “avatars.” Philip Rosedale, the inventor of the once popular online community Second Life, had been toying with the idea of virtual worlds since college, but credits Snow Crash for painting “a compelling picture of what such a virtual world could look like in the near future, and I found that inspiring.”

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