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Science | Design & Technology | Citizenship

How science is transforming entertainment

Will we have more fun in the future? By 2050 we could take holidays in space, use cyborg superpowers, and play games in super realistic VR. Here are five predictions for the future of fun… 1/ Space holidays. In 2017 over 18,000 people applied for between only 8 and 14 spots on the NASA astronaut programme. By 2050 we could all be astronauts. Richard Branson plans to take tourists into space by next year. This trip will cost passengers $250,000. But former astronaut Don Thomas predicts an end to astronomical prices: "In a decade or so you will see flights to space for $10,000," he claims. 2/ Physical virtual reality. Currently most VR headsets only project sight and sound. But Nelson Gonzalez, co-founder of computer company Alienware, expects future machines to let users "participate physically" in virtual worlds. A future VR remake of Titanic would make viewers sense the icy wind in their hair. While players in VR football games would actually feel the ball at their feet. 3/ Interactive Holograms. TV can be a window into the lives of others — from nail-biting crime dramas to footage of Elvis concerts. But what if you could bring its stars directly into your living room? Holographic TV may do just that. Samsung are working on a screen able to project holograms. And scientists in Japan have created interactive holograms using high-powered lasers. This technology could even create holographic pets. 4/ Rise of cyborg superpowers. Known as "biohackers", some people are now turning their bodies into machines. They implant microchips and magnets into their bodies which have a range of uses — from controlling lights to moving metal objects. Meanwhile, entrepreneur Elon Musk wants to create a "merger" between human and machine intelligence with implants that connect human brains to computers. 5/ Unlimited toys. If the growth of 3D printers follows the same trajectory as personal computers, every person in America will own one by 2040. So while previous generations lived out their imagination in Lego, children of the future could design and print any conceivable plaything. But will the future be more fun than the present? Fun-damental rights “The future cannot come too soon,” declare some. Space travel is the cherished dream of thousands — and it could be true for all. Even if that does not take off, virtual reality will transport us to exhilarating new worlds. What is more, 3D printing and holograms will allow the power of imagination to come alive in more realistic ways. “We will lose our selves in machines,” say others. Virtual reality, holograms, cyborgs: all these things give us are illusory powers and perspectives. From playing sport in muddy fields to cuddling a treasured pet, there is nothing more fun than experiencing the real thing. As for 3D printing: creating infinite amounts of stuff will make possessions worthless and disposable. KeywordsRichard Branson - His businesses have included Virgin Records, Virgin Trains and the space-tourism company Virgin Galactic.

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