The World of Tomorrow: Futurism and the 1960s

It’s time to take a trip to the 60s! This week we are serving up a twist! We are going to take a look into the wonderful world of Futurism, which gave rise to a fantastical futuristic world filled with flying cars and robot butlers.

With the space race to put the first man on the moon in the 60s, there was an exciting buzz of what the future could hold for the human race, TV shows like The Jetsons were born and nothing seemed impossible to imagine. We will also look at the real innovations that did happen in the decade that might not seem as cool as flying cars but changed the world forever.

Welcome to the future!

Space Hospitals

With the space race underway and space travel on everyone’s lips, living and traveling in space didn’t seem like too crazy a dream. People suffering from various illnesses would be zipped up into hospitals in space to get the best state of the art treatments.

The first Pacemaker was implanted in 1960

The Pacemaker was first discovered by accident in 1956, when Wilson Greatbatch grabbed the wrong resistor and connected it to a device he was building to record heartbeats. This circuit emitted a pulse and he then realized that the device can be used to simulate and control the beating of the heart. In 1960, the first successful implant of a pacemaker was performed on a human.

Electric Cars

Today it’s a reality and the well to do are driving around in their Tesla’s, but in the 60s it was but a dream of the future. The idea of a fully electric car started to hit the mainstream and was an exciting new prospect of getting into your sparky and driving to the farmer’s market like a perfect little housewife.

Cordless tools hit the market in 1961

Black and Decker released the first cordless power tools earlier, but couldn’t get enough oomph out of them. Reworking the idea with better materials and a better power to gear ratios they got it right, and they changed home DIY’ers – and thanks to a contract with NASA – astronaut’s lives for the better.

One World Job Market

This technology is once again something that did end up happening, we call it Skype and other video conference tools. The videophone was an amazing thing of the future where one could apply for a job in a different continent with a job interview only a video call away. This future tech concept brought the world a little closer together, and in the end, it really did.

First active Communications Satellite was launched in 1962

Telstar launched the first active communications satellite that amplified and retransmitted the received signals from the earth, not just bouncing signals back like its previous counterparts. This innovation made it possible to transmit, then President, Kennedy’s press conference held in Washington, live across the Atlantic. A global communications network was born.

Computerized Desktop for the home

This futuristic idea gave the perfect solution to raising your kids at home, no overcrowded schools needed! It had everything you needed, a video monitor with the teacher presenting the class, test papers given electronically and a screen for your own personal notes!

Sketchpad program, the first 3D modeling program is made in 1963

Ivan Sutherland revolutionized 3D computer modeling and simulation with the creation of his Sketchpad Program. As the earliest version of a computer-aided design program (CAD), it pioneered the use of geometric constraints. It was also one of the first programs to use a graphical user interface.

Firefighting Missiles

No need for the old-school firefighters when you have unmanned missiles to do the job! Just send out those heat seeking firefighting missiles to bomb the fire into submission!

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles arrived on the scene in 1964

The widespread use of remotely piloted aircraft began during the Vietnam War with the deployment of a 1000 AQM-34 Ryan Firebees. These aircraft went on to fly more than 34,000 surveillance missions. Current unmanned aerial vehicles used today were developed based on the successes of these innovative aircraft.

Big Brother Police Departments

In the dispatch center of the future, the all-seeing ever-watching eye of the law will be on you! They are there to serve, protect and watch your every move!

The KEVLAR Jacket starts saving lives in 1965

The invention of the high strength polymer named KEVLAR was invented by DuPont’s Stephanie Kwolek and Herbert Blades, and it’s thanks to them that countless police officer’s lives were saved from fatal attacks.

Bloodless Surgery and the Atomic Knife

With the atomic age well with us, it wasn’t crazy to dream up futures where its power could be harnessed for the use in medicine. The world of tomorrow will use this power to operate on a patient casually relaxing in a chair, no messy operations needed. No blood. No pain! Just some futuristic space-age voodoo and robot supersonic surgery.

Coronary Bypass Surgery is performed in 1967

The first coronary bypass surgery was performed by Rene Favaloro, by taking part of a vein in the leg and grafting it into the coronary artery, allowing the blood to flow around the blocked section. This advance in medicine cut down the number of deaths from heart disease in the U.S.A by almost half.

Robot Butlers

To be honest we all want one. What is cooler than a robot to serve on your every whim? “Hey Robot, please make sure the dinner is ready in half an hour. Oh, and can you do the laundry while you’re at it?”

Integrated Computer Systems is demonstrated in 1968

In a landmark demonstration known today as the Mother of all Demos, the engineer Douglas Engelbart illustrated the use of recently developed technologies such as graphics, video conferencing, computer mouse, word processing, file linking, etc. in conjunction with each other. This demonstrated the power of all these new techs to work in unison to later give rise to the modern computer.

Office of the Future – Fridge and all

Why have a mundane desk and typewriter when you can have an all in one office of the future! This space-looking office nook was the 60s dream of better office experience with everything available in arms reach, even your Coca-Cola.

Arpanet, the predecessor of the world network, made its appearance in 1969

Before the dream of a worldwide network, there was Arpanet – four computers linked in deferent states that communicated through a linked network. It introduced the concept of ‘packed switching’ which delivers messages as short units and reassembles them at their destination.

Although some of the futurist dreams came to be in the modern age, we are still waiting for our flying cars driven by our robot butlers. You never know what the future holds. What we do know is that next week we will take a look at the groovy world of the 70s.

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Anriette van Wyk
Anriette van Wyk

Tech Editor

Anriette is an alumni of The Open Window Institute where she studied Visual Communication. Currently she is the Boss Lady at Kief Kreativ with more than 10 years experience in the creative industry where she works as a professional photographer on big productions and concerts with both local and international artists. She has a wide portfolio, ranging from weddings, fashion, studio and editorial photography under her belt. Anriette is a photographer, designer, illustrator, model, car fanatic, dinosaur lover and Indiana Jones wannabe.

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