George Jetson and his family live (The Jetsons) in the Skypad Apartments high above Orbit City. They live there for one particular reason: to avoid smog. Depicting the American life of the future, all the buildings in the show are strategically constructed high above the ground and resemble Seattle’s Space Needle. Escape from pollution is a major theme throughout the show’s 75 episodes but often goes unnoticed. Even George’s employer Spacely Space Sprockets is relocated to elevated platforms due to massive pollution.
Living in the year 2062, The Jetsons have a house filled with smart devices, robotic servants, and 3D holographic entertainment. Whether it’s George’s flying car that converts into a portable briefcase or the family’s personal drone that drops the kids off at school, the Jetsons rely on innovative technology to simplify their life – even though sometimes it’s the bane of their existence.
Since the 80’s when the show aired, there have been countless technological advances – from artificial intelligence to renewable energy that seem to mirror the gadgets and devices featured in the show. Like looking into a crystal ball, writers for The Jetsons can only be described as visionaries. Now their visions are sitting on top of our counter tops, built into our dashboards, and immersing us into virtual reality worlds.
From 3D holographic images to Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices – we’ve put together a list of the top five futuristic technologies featured on The Jetsons that are now considered everyday tech gadgets. As an added bonus, we’ve also come up with a fairly innovative solution to Orbit City’s pollution problem – which could someday move the Jetsons from their high-rise apartment down to ground level.
#1: Personal Humanoid Robots
The Jetson’s robotic housekeeper Rosie prepared the family dinners, informed George about traffic prior to work, and shoved Elroy into his drone prior to school. She was a member of the family and like smart home robots today uses facial and voice recognition to decipher between family members. JIBO, considered to be the “first family robot,” is a perfect example of a contemporary version of Rosie.
Designed specifically to help everyone out in your family throughout the day, JIBO is a three-dimension socially communicative device. This friendly, helpful, intelligent robot snaps family photos, acts as a digital concierge, reminds grandma to take her meds, reads a bedtime story to the kids, you name it. Since JIBO is a platform, there’s no limit to the skills a third-party developer can create. In other words, JIBO is a customizable robot with tons of upside.
#2: Flying Cars
Arguably one of the most iconic images of the show The Jetsons is George traveling to work in his flying car – that just so happens turns into a portable briefcase. Flying cars are on the cusp of becoming reality. With Vertical Takeoff and Landing technology on the verge of being perfected, regions like Silicon Valley are dumping millions flying car innovation. Here are is an example of 21st century disruptive VTOL tech that could have easily been swapped out for George Jetson’s foldable flying car.
The Ehang 184 is eco-friendly (running on electricity) and has a flight distance of approximately 23 minutes @ sea level. Limited to a maximum altitude of 11,480 feet, the drone’s cruising speed is approximately 62 mph. The drone is able to carry a passenger weighing up to 264 lbs. Outside of the air conditioning unit and a reading lamp – the most noteworthy amenity is the drone’s downward facing camera. It captures all the action below throughout your less-than-23-minute-flight.
#3: Personal Drones
How else would six-year-old Elroy get to Little Dipper School, where the little genius studies space history, astrophysics, and star geometry? With built-in GPS and obstacle avoidance technology, Elroy Jetson is able to weave in and out of trouble before being dropped off at school.
When it comes to building the flying taxi of the future, three companies seem to be emerging from the pack as leading influencers, according to a recent iReviews article. Whether it’s Uber’s recently released 98-page White Paper outlining its “Uber Elevate” flying car plan or Airbus’ “Project Vahana” – an all-electric VTOL taking off from building tops – the commuter market is poised for big changes in the next two decades.
Even Google has a stake in the game with Co-founder Larry Paige funding his “flying car” project through start-up named Zee Aero. The one obstacle they all face together: strict Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. As it stands right now, the FAA has yet to approve commercial drone use.
#4: Holographic Images
Whether it’s Cosmo Spacely (George’s boss) untimely appearances in the family living room or the Jetsons’ blithe holographic tree uses to ring in the holidays, 3D image technology is integrated throughout the show’s storyline. In the 80’s holographic images were so beyond the realm of possibility and now, users can fully interact with 3D images.
The Artec Space Spider’s 3D scanner is designed for precision, bottom line. Artec created the perfect solution for users interested in capturing small objects with highly complex geometric edges. These images can range from a detailed 3D scan of the human ear to an intricate 3D mesh scan of molding parts. According to Artec, the Space Spider’s technology is a perfect solution for “rapid prototyping and manufacturing, health care, the automotive industry, aerospace, quality control, heritage preservation and graphic design.
#5: Wearable Tech
Finally, George Jetson is saddled with a pair of shoes that have a mind of their own. In one episode, Jane convinces George to take dancing lessons so he won’t embarrass Judy at her housewarming party, but his uncoordinated moves lead a mechanic to offer him some help with Automatic Dancing Shoes. This obviously turns into a disaster.
Taking wearable technology to an entirely new level, the French startup DigitSole has created the world’s first smart shoe. With its futuristic and urban design, their SmartShoe 001 is fully connected (Bluetooth 4.0), automatically tightens, and comes equipped with heated sole technology. George Jetson would be proud for this is one smart pair of shoes. So smart, in fact, the wearer can adjust the temperature of the shoes in one-degree increments. Once the wearer sets the desired temperature and it’s reached, the app turns off, increasing battery life. Tested in harsh negative 13-degree Fahrenheit conditions, the shoes maintained an average temp of 77 degrees.
Tackling The Jetsons’ Pollution Problem
Cosmo Spacely, George’s boss, is the owner of Spacely Space Sprockets. His company was founded in Newfoundland in 1937, where it continued to prosper until massive surface pollution necessitated a move to the elevated platforms seen in the series. Instead of focusing on manufacturing sprockets for small gadgets, Spacely could have focused his attention on eco-innovation – eradicating the smog in the most disruptive way possible.
According to a recent Futurism article, Alcoa Architectural Products has developed “the world’s first coil-coated aluminum architectural panel that helps clean itself and the air around it.” Used to construct skyscrapers or high rises, 10,000 feet of Reynobond with EcoClean has the “approximate air cleaning power of 80 trees – enough power to offset the smog created by four cars every day.”
The technology also allows for the building to clean itself. According to Arconic – the engineering firm heading the futuristic design campaign, “when exposed to UV light, the coating makes the surface of the building super hydroponic or water-loving, so rainwater and other moisture that hit the surface collapse flat instead of beading up.” That means dirt, soot, and grime just runs off the side of the building.
George Jetson and his family are stuck living in high rises and company towers due to pollution. They are relying on modern technology to keep them safe from smog that lurks below. Imagine if the creators of The Jetsons had the foresight to conclude the show with George coming up with a titanium dioxide coating, called EcoClean. Instead of being fired by his boss Cosmo (which happen on a daily basis), he ends up saving the company with his brilliant invention – allowing both his family and Spacely Space Sprockets to relocate back down to ground level. After using skyscrapers to kill pollution, the last episode is a company picnic on a grassy field without any of the faulty tech gadgets that ran George Jetson’s life.