Life in 2013 isn’t that much different from life in the 1980s. There are no flying cars. There are no floating cloud cities. There is no teleportation or interstellar space travel.
But what we do have in abundance are those quirky little inventions that make life just that tiny bit easier: affordable cell phones, GPS systems, high-speed internet, debit cards, frost-free freezers, budget airlines and longer-lasting batteries to name a few.
And then there are the inventions that never really took off.
The difficulty of predicting the future is that those predictions are often based on present technology. When Jules Verne wrote the novel “Paris in the Twentieth Century” in 1863, he envisioned the Paris of 1960 filled with glass sky-scrapers, high-speed trains, petrol-fuelled cars and even a worldwide “telegraphic” communications network. However, the main character still writes with a feathered quill pen.
You can look at a lot of inventions from the 1980s that way: futuristic solutions to problems we just don't have today (and maybe never did). Herewith are 10 '80s technological innovations that never became as integral to our daily lives as their inventors surely would've liked, lifted from the pages of Popular Science.
David M. Green is a comedian, writer and game show host from Melbourne, Australia. His TV quiz show "31 Questions" airs on stations around Australia and New Zealand and is available on YouTube. Season 2 is currently in pre-production for debut in mid 2013. Follow him on Twitter.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.