Back to the Future II: Then and Now


Megan Tsang, Features Editor

The immensely popular “Back to the Future” franchise is best known for its jam-packed plots and high-tech concepts. It has become the first thought to come to many people around the world when they think of time travel. But, how many of those glitzy gizmos and gadgets of the future have become a reality?



Then: Back to the Future II portrayed hoverboards as flying ski board-like vehicles sold by the toy company Mattel.

Now: Hoverboards have recently began to pick up steam a, promoted by celebrities from Tony Hawk to Wiz Khalifa. But not all of them blatantly seem to defy gravity like in the movie. Some, like the one relying on crowdfunding from Hoverboard Technologies, are vehicles that have wheels so that they only give you the sensation of hovering. However, there are others like the Lexus Slide and Hendo Hoverboard that utilize the power of magnets and give a more surreal effect. The Hendo 2.0 launched  Oct. 21, the same day that Marty McFly, his girlfriend, and Doc Brown flew off in the DeLorean back to the future.


Biometric Identification

Then: An unconscious Lorraine McFly was shown being identified by the police and entering her house using a fingerprint scan.


Now: This is a concept that has actually been enacted. It is often found in security systems and in protecting sensitive government information. But its first widespread availability was in mobile technology. Android debuted a feature that allowed a phone to be unlocked using facial recognition with their 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update. And in 2013, Apple introduced its product, Touch ID, which allows a user to access their device using a fingerprint scan.


Nike Power Laces

Then: After arriving in 2015, Marty happens upon a pair of shoes that would delight any sneakerhead: Nike Mags with the ability to lace themselves.

Now: In early 2014, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield hinted at the possibility of self tying shoes.  Throughout the web there have been rumors and speculation over the release, but no official confirmation from Nike has been issued.


DeLorean DMC-12

Then: As Doc Brown said, “The way I see it, if you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”

At the time, the DeLorean was seen as an ostentatious status symbol with its flashy aesthetic and steep price. After it was featured in the movie, it gained popularity again as a collector’s item. At this time, the company had already filed for bankruptcy five years prior.

Now: This model was the only one ever produced by the company before its demise in 1982. It was originally planned to be retailed for $12,000 (hence the name) but was instead was sold for an exorbitant $25,000, which is the equivalent to approximately $68,022 today.