Known for his wide variety of gadgets and electronics, Batman introduced readers to the concept of a miniature flying reconnaissance drone as far back as the 1950s. In today's world, people use drones for everything from real estate to music videos to military operations. For example, Prox Dynamics AS, based in Norway, built the Black Hornet Nano Drone, which is only 4-inches long and weighs just over half an ounce. It can fly for 30 minutes on a single charge and can travel up to half a mile at a top speed of 22 mph. It has three separate cameras and can be operated manually by remote control or automatically via GPS direction. At the moment, it's only used by military organizations in the field.
One of the most iconic pieces of technology used by the infamous master detective Dick Tracy was his stylish two-way wrist communicator. Starting as far back as 1946, Tracy used his watch to communicate with the police and his associates. Then, in the '60s, he upgraded to a two-way wrist TV communicator. Today, Samsung’s Gear S Smartwatch reflects Tracy's forward-thinking gadget with its ability to make calls, send texts and surf the web right from your wrist.
Everyone from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to Batman to the Justice League to the Fantastic Four has used some sort of video chat to communicate with each other and society. Now, video chat is as common as the computer itself because of apps and software like Skype and FaceTime. These let you chat face-to-face from nearly anywhere in the world.
In the 1970s, writer and illustrator Jack Kirby created the New Gods and their universe of the Fourth World. Within this world, the heroes used fantastical hand-held computers called Mother Boxes that could do nearly anything. Although today’s smartphones might not be able to change matter or teleport, they are certainly a step in the right direction.
The life of Victor Stone, aka Cyborg, was not an easy one. When a tragic accident leaves him horribly disfigured, his father uses his influence and technology to rebuild his son with cybernetic parts. Cyborg eventually uses these parts to help the world in times of need. These days, cybernetics and prosthetics help bypass and repair injured parts of the brain, let blind people see and give injured people a chance to live the lives they once had.
Much of today's technology can be traced back to the influence of comic books. Who knows when the next gadget from Batman, modular plan from the Fantastic Four or transporter from the Justice League will be brought from fantasy to reality. We'll just have to wait and see.