6 'Star Wars' Technologies That May Not Be So Far, Far Away

From landspeeders to lightsabers


Landspeeders, fictional and real

This rolling droid from the trailer evokes the classic trilogy's R2-D2, while putting a new...spin...on things. But in real life...Lucasfilm
Back in the real world, the $100 Sphero is a rolling robot ball that you can already control right from your smartphone or tablet.Sphero
Landspeeders are personal ground transport in the Star Wars universe, hovering along on their repulsorlift fields. Fiction, right?Lucasfilm
Not entirely! Companies like Malloy Aeornautics and Aerofex have actually test piloted personal, flying hoverbikes, though they're still a ways from mass production.Aerofex
X-Wing fighters are the top-of-the line starfighters for the Rebel Alliance. But that distinctive cross-section isn't limited to the Star Wars universe...Lucasfilm
SpaceX Falcon 9

Falcon 9

It also inspired the "hypersonic grid fins" that help SpaceX's Falcon 9 make a stable landing.SpaceX
The lightsaber: an elegant weapon for a more civilized age...Lucasfilm
Obama with a lightsaber

President Obama Wields A Light Saber

All right, lightsabers are still pretty far off. But scientists have taken their first steps into a larger world by creating "molecules" of light that might someday let them build things from photons.
Blasters are the common weapon of the Star Wars universe, from the model that Han Solo carried on his hip to the ones mounted on TIE Fighters. But lasers are already seeing combat...Lucasfilm

Laser Weapons System (LaWS)

The U.S. Navy already has a ship-mounted laser that's used, defensively, for tasks like taking down drones. But a handheld blaster pistol is probably still more fiction than fact.U.S. Navy
Millennium Falcon
Nobody's about to duplicate the Millennium Falcon, the modified YT-1300 light freighter piloted by Han Solo. But more important is what it signifies: that space travel in the Star Wars universe isn't just for the elite...Lucasfilm
Boeing CST-100


Boeing aims to send humans to the International Space Station in their 'Starliner' in 2017.Boeing