This tech let us dream big. Then it flopped spectacularly

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Hoverboards never really made it out of Back to the Future Part II. 

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By now, we should all be riding hoverboards (the real ones, not the ) around town. We should have flying cars parked in our garages and the ability to just teleport when we need to get somewhere in a hurry. 

At least, these are all things science fiction movies and novels from the previous century (and a handful of bold inventors) promised would be our reality. According to them, by 2020, our lives should be so technologically advanced that just about every surface we touch is digitized, including our .

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Alas (or perhaps for the best), that hasn’t been the case. Sure, tech is ingrained in just about everything we do, from how we communicate to the ways we get around. Cars are much more advanced than they were even 10 years ago, with the advent of like and Super Cruise, but they’re certainly nowhere near flying. Heck, who knows when we’ll even own actual , let alone flying ones.

There are countless futuristic and advancements that Hollywood and big dreamers alike have enthusiastically touted, but which never came to fruition or were quickly reduced to collector’s items. Here are some notable examples


You can’t call it a hoverboard if it doesn’t hover, right? Or so you’d think. While several companies have sold with wheels labeled as hoverboards, we never got truly levitating boards as seen in . 

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The wheel-equipped iterations were once a hot commodity before they began literally , though you do still see them around. are what have really taken over city streets, despite and complaints about them being .  

And created by the company.

With a , the giant tablet with legs, called the , was geared toward businesses and large organizations. It began shipping to customers in 2012, and was eventually rebranded as PixelSense, but it never really took off and the project was soon killed.  


Budget Firefox OS phones, such as Orange’s Klif, weren’t enough to sustain the alternative software.

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Here’s another innovation that saw the light of day but ultimately didn’t last. in 2016, just two and a half years after the . The termination served as proof that it’s virtually impossible to successfully compete against dominating forces and . The phones join other once-promising handsets that have fallen fr, for when you need to take that call but also really need to shave right now.

Tondemoketai China manufactured the phone, which featured a curved foil electric shaver head at the base. Not surprisingly, most people didn’t find the need to own this multifunctional device, so we’ve had to resort to that can’t be used for grooming. What a loss.  

Food pills 

People are always looking for ways to tinker with our eating habits, and they should stop because food is awesome. Anyway, futurists have long floated the idea of creating a . Thankfully, that pill hasn’t been invented, so we have no choice but to continue chowing down.

Time travel

Ah, the sci-fi staple. What if you could go forward or backward in time to mend a relationship or get a second chance at a golden opportunity? The concept of time travel was popularized by HG Wells’ novel The Time Machine, and has since been referenced in countless books and movies like  and . Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic concept that will have to live on solely in our imaginations. Perhaps it’s for the best. 

We may never see flying cars like this, but urban air taxis are starting to take flight.

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Flying cars

If vehicles can’t take you forward or backward in time, could they at least help you take to the skies more efficiently? Sure, we have planes, but going to the Toronto airport taxi is such a hassle, and most of us aren’t millionaires with private jets that we can just hop on when we please. 

Flying cars would help solve that problem, and would allow us to dodge traffic on the roads — though we’d need to figure out how to manage traffic in the sky, if we’re all flying. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, because we probably won’t be seeing these contraptions anytime soon. Still, from the are inching toward becoming more mainstream, so we at least have that to hope for. 


When it comes to efficient travel, it doesn’t get better than teleporting. Imagine if we had transporters like in . We’d never have to worry about transit delays or traf, though  like the  and  do try to simplify certain tasks. We also have ,  and one that , but we’ve yet to see anything that’s a packaged deal.

Radio newspaper

In the 1930s, inventor WGH Finch created a device allowing people to not just hear the news, but also . The device, essentially an early iteration of the fax machine, used radio transmission to . You’d eventually have the top stories in your hands — as long as you had a few hours to spare. I’m gonna say this one doesn’t feel like a major loss, though it helped pave the way for future inventions like the .

Self-driving cars

Yeah, I’m not exactly sure when this will become a mainstream reality, but unlike other inventions listed here,  it’ll likely happen in the near future, given several companies are continuously to with each other, ultimately making commutes safer. We’re going to sit tight until they’ve officially worked out all the kinks.

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