15 things Back to the Future told us we’d have by 2015

Marty and Doc Brown’s 1989 film sequel made some big promises about technology...

The second outing of Marty and Doc Brown’s time-travelling adventures, Back to the Future II, had high hopes for 2015.


That is the year the pair are blasted into in the 1989 sequel and, if the film is to be believed, there are plenty of gadgets and gizmos we will be using very shortly indeed. From flying cars to self-tying shoes, here’s what the film told us 2015 would look like…

Mr Fusion

By now we should be merrily throwing rubbish into the Home Energy Reactor and, by the magic of nuclear fusion, be making ourselves some cheap, clean energy to use. Beats worrying about which colour bin the empty beer bottles go in…

Flying cars

Aside from a few boy racers taking corners rather too fast, the wheels of our vehicles are still firmly on the ground. What’s that all about? When Marty and Doc pop up in the future they’re caught on the wrong side of a flying car highway. In this brand new year we’re entering we should be zipping our way through the sky, past hovering street signs and seemingly weightless street lamps. Sure there’s prototypes but no one’s flying to Tesco for their weekly shop, are they?

Self-tying shoes

By now we should be laughing at our ancestors for wasting precious minutes tying their laces. Marty’s Nike Mags simply do themselves up. In 2011 a small number of replica versions were sold, with proceeds going to the Michael J Fox Foundation, but they missed this rather vital detail. Although, rumour has it, Nike’s working on a working pair for release this year. Make space in your wardrobe.

Rejuvenation clinics

Hands up if you want to look 30 years younger? Yeah, the Doc doesn’t have to worry about night creams or keeping an eye on what he’s eating. He just has a quick visit to a rejuvenation clinic, and boom! – he’s a spring chicken once more.

Doc Brown: “I went to a rejuvenation clinic and got an all-natural overhaul. They took out some wrinkles, did a hair repair, changed the blood, added a good 30 to 40 years to my life. They also replaced my spleen and colon – what do you think?” 

Weather service

Our weather forecasts let us know that we may need an umbrella in our bag at some point in the next three days. Doc Brown is able to predict exactly when it will stop raining just by looking at his watch. To the “tick” as he says. Doc goes on to credit the “Weather Service” who he says is far more reliable than the Post Office, which will apparently still be unreliable. Damn.

Self-drying jacket

Not that we should have to worry about the rain any more. Back to the Future promised us self-drying jackets. At the touch of a button Marty can also make the jacket adjust to his size. Perfect after a bit too much holiday indulgence.

Petrol station robots

You might think you’re rather swish when you pull into the ‘pay at pump’ lane and bypass that tiresome visit to the person behind the till. Well, Back to the Future thinks we’ll be met (in our flying cars of course) by a robot that will fill our tanks and process the payment for us. We’re waiting…

Jaws 19

We’ve had Jaws one, two, three and four… but Jaws 19? And forget 3D movies: Marty gets ‘attacked’ by a holographic shark that leaps from the theatre to entice him into the cinema. We can’t wait.

Food hydrators

Sure, we can order a hot pizza straight to our doors. Yes, we can easily buy a pizza, put it in the oven and be merrily eating a cheesy slice within 15 minutes. But the McFlys said we’d have food hydrators: a mini pizza goes in, gets, er, hydrated, and pops back out steaming hot and full-sized in, like, seconds. Delicious and space-saving!


By now, back pain should be a thing of the past. Back to the Future has shown us exactly how it should be done. George McFly puts his back out and moments later is hanging upside down by his ankles with some sort of chiropractic hoverbelt fixing the pain for him. Simple.

Indoor garden centre

Who wants a fruit bowl when you can have an indoor garden centre that appears and retracts on command. Marty wants some fruit, and what do you know, there appears a bowl from the ceiling bursting with delightful treats. Is anyone on this? Anyone?

Pick your scenery

Back to the Future said that by 2015 we’d be able to avoid the dreary outside world with our very own scenery channel. Raining outside? Switch to the Barbados scene. Snowing? Up pops a picture of a lush green garden. 

Moving rubbish bins

You know how you can never see a rubbish bin when you need one? Not in 2015, apparently, when rubbish bins will fly by at the perfect moment.

Hovering cameras

Doc Brown yells, “I’ve managed to re-wire the hovercam so I can beam transmissions to you people back in the present”. And we thought camera phones were cool.



Last but certainly not least, we still do not appear to be able to hop on a hoverboard and fly. Sure there’s prototypes. But can we buy one? Not yet. A skateboard is not the same. Not at all.