6 Shockingly Affordable Sci-Fi Inventions

As we here at Cracked are fond of pointing out, technological advancements are causing real life and science fiction to overlap in increasingly interesting ways. Still, most of the really cool gear must cost a fortune and a half ... right?

Actually, no. A lot of this stuff that not too long ago was only available in your daydreams is actually well within an average person's budget. And if it's outside of yours, who would ever deny you a loan once they hear you're going to use it for ...

#6. A Zero-Gravity Flight

Price: $4,950

Seriously, gravity is the worst. There's a reason why when we design a superhero, the first thing we do is give him the ability to fly, or at least glide, like Batman does. If you had a switch in your house that would let you turn off the gravity and just drift around, we're guessing you'd never turn it back on.

"It's great until you try to masturbate. Then it's fucking incredible."

But only a fraction of humans in the history of the species have ever experienced weightlessness, considering it requires you to go to freaking outer space, and that you need a lifetime of astronaut training to achieve it. Or, you can do it right here on Earth, for less than the price of a 65-inch LED TV.

You might have heard that when NASA astronauts are training for zero-G conditions, they go up in one of NASA's wonderfully nicknamed "vomit comets." They are special fixed-wing aircraft that are able to induce a state of temporary weightlessness by flying in a series of tight parabolic arcs (basically, going up and down and up again really quickly). This gives the passengers approximately 25 seconds of total weightlessness at a time.

"You'll want to use a hustler on the way up."

Well, you don't have to work for NASA to experience that. There is a private company called Zero G Corporation, and they have their very own vomit comet in the form of a customized Boeing 727-200. They call it the goddamn G-FORCE ONE, and holy shit yes you can ride it.

Zero Gravity Corporation
You can even get married on it.

For less than $5,000, you get a short training session, a flight with a total of eight minutes of weightlessness, a signed copy of the space tourists handbook ... and a hat. The hat is important.

The actual weightlessness part is just moments of your life, and the whole experience is but a day. But the hat will remain. You can wear it as a trophy every day of your life, secure in the knowledge that for an eight-minute period, you fought physics and freaking won.

Ladies, this could be you!

#5. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Draganfly Innovations

Price: $19,995

Predator drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles are seeing action in Iraq and Afghanistan, piloted from the ground in a comfy chair in a manner that a bystander could mistake for a guy playing a video game. For most people, buying a Predator drone to survey the skies and vanquish their enemies seems like overkill. Those people clearly aren't fans of Cracked, and as such are dead wrong.

"We were using one of the screens to play WoW, but the general got real pissed."

It's true -- for less than the price of a decent car, you, too, can have what is essentially a military grade UAV scanner. For the connoisseur who prefers scouting your enemy at his own base, an extra investment of just a few hundred dollars will buy the long distance airplane version. The company doesn't specifically mention where you can fit the minigun and homing missiles, so we'll just assume they're open for negotiation.

Draganfly Innovations
You could probably fit a flamethrower right where that camera's sitting.

What they do mention is that both versions of the UAV can be equipped with an HD-quality camera capable of both hi-res pictures and video footage. Hell, for a little extra, you can attach a thermal imaging option. So basically this gives you the opportunity to roam the real world like a video game, using the UAV as your character, and take screencaps from the best bits of its rampage. Or, if you're not a violent person, you can enjoy the sensation of flight without the risk of crashing.

Also, imagine the look on that census guy's face when a large helicopter robot rises from your backyard to chase him back to his car. See those Jehovah's Witnesses break the world record for the 100-meter dash-the-fuck-away. Or, hell, just paint "SKYNET" on the thing's side and unleash it in a movie theater during a Terminator matinee.

Draganfly Innovations
We're one smartphone app away from the greatest breakthrough in stalking history.

Really, the only drawback we can imagine for this product is that you're more likely to be attacked by bounty hunter types in futuristic armor who mistake you for their final boss. Which, with a goddamn UAV at your disposal, you totally can be.

#4. A Matter Replicator

MakerBot Store, ALoopinglcon

Price: $1,299

As we've discussed before, the day that we come up with matter replicators is the day that the global economy shuts down. Not only has humanity gotten one step closer to that, but also it has chosen to do so in the exact way you imagined when you were 8 years old. Meet the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic:

MakerBot Store
Name courtesy of Bill Watterson.

Wait, what the hell? No way can that be a real product. That looks like an unfinished set piece for a Futurama live-action movie, for crying out loud!

But real it is, and work it does. Granted, it's not quite at the level where it can crank out, say, edible hamburgers or flawless diamond rings like you see in Star Trek and whatnot, but it is a huge step in that direction, and cheaper than a new sofa. It is what they call a 3-D printer -- it literally "prints" actual physical objects.

bre pettis
At this point, we're about five product generations away from the end of the economy.

All you have to do is design a 3-D model using a program provided with the machine and send the data over to your MakerBot, then it brings your model to life. It uses something called Makerbot Plastic, with the machine putting layer upon layer of the stuff together until the desired item is produced. And you can manufacture whatever shapes you want -- be it boobs, a new part for your ceiling fan, boobs, a scale replica of the Enterprise or even boobs. If you're feeling lazy, you can just download one of the designs that are user-uploaded to their website and bring it to life.

Boobs are also an option, in case you were unaware.

Designers of the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic boast that the machine is completely automated, reliable and very easy to use. And better yet, this isn't one of those situations where you pre-order the thing and just hope like hell that the project takes off and they actually start making them -- you can buy your own 3-D printer right now.

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