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Let’s face it – Hollywood and the technology of the future is a match made in heaven. Every second Hollywood film seems to show a future world dominated by high-tech gizmos, be it a ray gun or surveillance technology. Now, imagine a future in which boxing has done away with flesh-and-blood pugilists; the new champions are massive robots who fight to the death! Based on a short story by Richard Matheson, ‘Real Steel’ has now been made into a futuristic action film starring Hugh Jackman. But, the real heroes in the film are the formidable boxing robots, courtesy of HP, which helped in the technology that is such a defining feature of the film.
DreamWorks approached HP to help in the design of the film. The end result was the fantastic technology – which could soon be a reality in the near future. One is the remote control meant for the robot Noisy Boy; this gadget features a flexible and transparent display, something which will one day be an all-too-familiar feature, feels Mark Solomon, principal designer at HP’s Innovation Program Office. He is pretty certain that the future will see a combination of flexible and transparent displays like the one seen in the film. For instance, one future trend could be a remote control that can fold and bend. This kind of technology is still five years away, feels Solomon.
HP also helped to design the slightly tilted interactive and collaborative surface of the device, which has a massive touchscreen, and is clearly the future of interactive surfacing. Solomon believes that this is the device of the future and would find popularity in the coming years.
HP had also designed a futuristic 3D printer for the film, though the scene was later excised. Said Solomon, “Right now, if I push the button (on 3D printing technology), you would get a plastic thing that looks (for instance) like a phone. In ten years, maybe a little longer, you could hit that button and that phone will work.”
Solomon believes that one great advantage of movies is that they would be able to predict future technological trends.