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The Future is [Almost] Here

It’s quickly becoming apparent that our society is still quite a ways away from introducing many of the technological innovations that “Back to the Future, Part II” said we’d have by now.

Despite that fact, many forward-thinking engineers and inventors are continuing to develop ideas that could eventually lead us to a world where roads and conventional ovens will become a thing of the past. If you’re interested in seeing what the future may hold, check out these four neat knick-knacks and concepts that could one day become commonplace.

Zyro – Why play tennis with a fuzzy little ball when you can play using a drone instead? That’s the idea behind Zyro, a “game drone” designed by a group of engineers to take the place of a ball in various activities. According to an article that appeared on Time.com, Zyro’s special design allows it to maneuver in a dynamic fashion, as players control its movements by using a specialized wand.

Wireless phone chargers – Many of us have experienced the agony of not having a phone charger during the times when one is needed the most, so this idea from Korea could be considered a godsend if it becomes a reality. The prototype designed by a team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology makes use of a nine-foot-long box outfitted with specialized coils to wirelessly power mobile devices from up to 15 feet away.

Contact lenses with zoom capability – Google has already made a splash in the high-tech eyewear department with Google Glass, but for those who prefer contact lenses, here’s something for you. Engineers with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology introduced specialized lenses that allow wearers to switch between zoomed and normal vision. The real question here is, have they figured out a way to make contacts more comfortable?

Self-tying shoes – After 26 years and a lot of clamoring from enthusiastic fans (including myself), Nike has finally begun designing the high tops that Marty McFly briefly donned during his adventure in the future, complete with LED lights and, of course, power laces. Business Insider says Nike plans to release the shoes later this year, so let’s hope that self-drying jackets aren’t that much farther away.