The cultural phenomenon that is Black Panther is notable for many good reasons. The black cast, the black director, the box-office-smashing results, the set design, CGI, costume, and the popularisation of Afrofuturism to name just a few. Then there are the interesting connections that can be made between the fantasy world of Black Panther and real-life technological innovations.
Shuri's magnet-powered subway
The high-speed magnetic levitation (or Maglev) rail system designed by Shuri, King T'Challa's teenage sister. This is not too dissimilar to Elon Musk's Hyperloop, which is a high-speed vacuum powered railway.
Musk says the transport concept will be able to carry passengers from New York to the Capitol in under 30 minutes. He was recently granted a permit to begin excavations in Washington DC.
Compromising of wearable technology inspired by African jewellery, Black Panther shows off hologram scenes throughout the movie. Shuri's lab features holographic displays whilst live-feed holograms prove a popular way of communicating in Wakanda, the film's setting. The closest thing we have to this type of technology, today, would be Microsoft's Holoportation technology.
Holoportation allows users to project a full body likeness into a remote location. Of course, the person viewing the holograms has to be wearing their own set of virtual reality goggles.
The strongest and most resilient metal on earth. A fictional element used to make weapons and is also stitched into Black Panther's suit. This material makes it bulletproof and absorbent of the energy of blows he sustains, releasing it when necessary. The closest thing we have today is probably graphene.
Graphene is hard to make and is in short supply, and it holds the title of the strongest material ever tested. It is apparently ten times more bulletproof than steel and due to its atomic structure that is practically invisible. It sounds superhero-appropriate already.
The technology featured in Black Panther allows it to take over a vehicle remotely, as well as taking over its controls, perhaps the closest thing we have to something like that will be drone racing.
The drone racing league is a good example where drone piloting uses virtual reality technology to allow drivers a first-person perspective of the vehicle in flight.
Black Panther is just a reminder that our technology is on point and will just get better in the near future.