I am glad that there are so many people doing intensive research trying to find cures for various deadly diseases that it has given time for others to spend time for other serious pursuits. For example, consider that July 31, 2022, is the birthday of George Jetson, the patriarch of the 1960s space-age Hanna-Barbera family “The Jetsons.”
Geeky enthusiasts have concluded that since “The Jetsons” debuted in 1962 and is set 100 years in the future, 2062, and that George is 40 years old, that he was born in 2022. the exact date of his birthday, but , to be honest, I lost interest in two paragraphs.
That being said, the technological gadgets in “The Jetsons” are the coolest part in my book. I’m a bigger fan of “The Flintstones,” because their anachronistic prehistoric gadgets are usually snarky saber-toothed tigers or pterodactyls that break the fourth wall and talk about Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty and others.
But none of the Bedrock devices, as far as I know, have successfully made the transition from cartoon punchline delivery devices to real-world objects (and wouldn’t a talking head be cool that wooly mammoth vacuum?), but many things in the Jetsons have. These include, but are not limited to: drones, flat screen TVs, jetpacks, robotic vacuums, smart watches, tablet computers and video calls.
Today there are many Jetsons gizmos and gadgets that are not (yet) a thing, such as flying cars that fold Transformer-style into a suitcase, pneumatic tubes used as elevators and moving sidewalks.
However, I was inspired to create some Jetson-like gadgets that I would like to see.
CARPOOL FILLER: When traffic starts to slow down on your commute, just press a button on your dashboard and holographic images of other people fill your car so you can use carpool lanes.
GETTIN’ DRESSED TIME SAVER: In the 1960’s TV show “Batman,” Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson could change their dynamic duo costumes just by sliding down a pole. We should have that technology by now. If you’re late for work, just slide the pole and take some time off. Especially helpful if your job is Batman.
Express your own vehicles: Wouldn’t it be cool to have a voice-activated system in your ride that would translate your words into 24-inch LED red text that appears and scrolls or flashes on the back window and side of your car when driving so you can. communicate with other drivers?
You can say “Hi there!” or “Nice car!” or “Have a nice day!”
It’s probably more likely things along the lines of “Uh, can you explain ‘turn signal?’ ” or “Your McLicense should be suspended!”
WAKE UP TV: I hate it when I’m watching a Netflix series and to my horror wake up and realize that I don’t know where I was when I accidentally crashed. Face recognition TVs are very helpful to detect immediately when you nod and pause the show and activate the alarm.
SHOUT OUT: Now this one may sound silly to you, but sometimes I want to shout, for no particular reason, “Maceo!” And I expect a smokin’ sax solo to start playing like the great Godfather of Soul used to do. But it won’t happen. Sometimes I also want to shout “Temptations sing!” and have them do that part from “Super Freak,” but I still have crickets, which is embarrassing. Now that I don’t have Maceo Parker and the Temptations following me everywhere (which isn’t such a bad thing), a smartphone app that can accommodate and promote my admittedly weird outbursts would be a 10 in the cool meter.
DIGITAL WAITERS: I don’t mean it in the restaurant sense, I’m talking about floating drones with a video monitor that you can send to do different tasks like waiting in line at the post office to send a package or waiting in line in the bank. While they wait, you can embarrass the clerks to no end by playing your drone on “Jeopardy!” waiting music or Tom Petty’s “The Waiting (Is the Hardest Part).”
UNIVERSAL TRANSLATION: I needed a device that would help me in real-time understand people using foreign languages to see if what I suspected was true: that they were clowning me. I also want to understand teenagers who speak like they text. The Universal Translator works both ways as young people can turn my 40- and 50-year-old pop culture references into something they recognize and understand other than “Welcome Back Kotter” and “Hong Kong Phooey.”
Now of course I would love for it to translate WomanSpeak to GuyUnderstanding, but let’s not go crazy. Technology can only do so much.
Fairfield freelance humor columnist and accidental local historian Tony Wade writes two weekly columns: “The Last Laugh” on Mondays and “Back in the Day” on Fridays. Wade is also the author of The History Press books “Growing Up In Fairfield, California” and “Lost Restaurants of Fairfield, California.”