The world of the Jetsons gets a scientific makeover. Arconic has reimagined the year 2062 through the eyes of leading futurists, our engineers and filmmaker Justin Lin.
The Jetsons sci-fi cartoon series launched in 1962 and was set 100 years in the future. An instant hit, it presented an entertaining yet surprisingly forward-thinking vision of 2062.
It’s amazing to see how much The Jetsons got right, predicting things like smartwatches, tablets and 3D printing; and that made us wonder what else might still be in store. Flying cars? Extraordinary buildings?
So we gathered a brain trust of leading futurists and our own engineers to share their thoughts on what Arconic could help realize by 2062, and brought their vision to life with the help of film director Justin Lin.
Ultra-lightweight, next generation aluminum-lithium structure
Aluminum-lithium is lighter and stronger than conventional aluminum alloys, helping to reduce vehicle weight and increase energy efficiency.
Organic body shape
The body shape is patterned after nature, with smooth curves and features that mimic organic forms, helping reduce drag.
Titanium-aluminide propulsion components
Ti-Al components are approximately 50 percent lighter than the super alloy components they replace, enabling greater fuel efficiency.
When I heard about this project I thought that it would be exciting to be part of the legacy of something that was part of my childhood and to reimagine that.
JUSTIN LIN — DIRECTOR
Multi-material, 3D printed structural components
Titanium, nickel or aluminum 3D printed structures would be used in jet engines or on airframes—such as window frames, or wing and fuselage components—opening new possibilities for design and performance.
Nature-inspired, aerodynamic surface
Surface technology that mimics nature helps to enhance aerodynamics—such as mimicking the riblets found on shark skin, which allows the fish to efficiently slide through water.
Vectored-thrust, supersonic propulsion system
Vectored thrust enables a jet engine to be “steered” using the power of the engine versus aerodynamic surfaces on the airframe. The supersonic engine—which must have a thrust exit velocity that is equal to several times the speed of sound—would enable high-speed air travel.
We’re seeing greater efficiencies in planes that are more like flying wings.
ADRIAN HON — FUTURIST
Arconic’s Micromill technology produces automotive aluminum alloys that are 40 percent more formable than today’s automotive aluminum, enabling greater design flexibility and enhanced vehicle performance without compromising strength and durability.
Organic metal bonding technology
Arconic’s A951 surface treatment is an organic, environmentally friendly bonding solution that overcomes previous challenges with joining aluminum to itself or other materials. It opened the door to more lightweight, aluminum-intensive vehicles which offer improved performance and fuel efficiency.
3D printed, integrated chassis design
3D printing opens the door to the creation of more geometries. Applied to a chassis, this would allow for greater design freedom, and the possibility of a structure that is integrated into the contoured design, simplifying manufacturing and providing enhanced structural integrity.
Driverless vehicles are going to change transportation more dramatically than the invention of the automobile itself.
THOMAS FREY — FUTURIST
Active, self-cleaning coating technology
Arconic’s EcoClean surface treatment enables architectural panels to harness the power of sunlight, water vapor and oxygen to clean themselves—and the air around them.
Energy-efficient, protective framing technology
Breakthrough technologies from Arconic already enable high-thermal performance to meet growing demand for energy efficiency and increased resiliency to protect against hurricanes and natural disasters.
3D printed building and construction materials enable more organic shapes, inspired by nature.
There’s no limit to how tall we’re going to make the showcase buildings.
KEVIN KELLY — FUTURIST
Airless 3D printed tires
Additively manufactured, airless, resilient “tires” would eliminate the need for complex suspension systems. The ideal materials would combine high strength and light weight—and aluminum or aluminum-lithium would be among the best material choices.
Solar-powered propulsion, integral to the structure
3D printed solar cells on the surface of load bearing structures, such as the frame or suspension of the rover, means that these solar panels would have two jobs—generating electricity and carrying load.
Dynamic thermal barrier coatings
Dynamic thermal barrier coatings mean that the coatings’ characteristics would change when the external environment changes. When it is hot, the coating would protect against solar damage; when it is cold, they would protect against freezing.
We would have to be able to utilize the materials and elements that are located on other planets.
SHERRI McCLEARY — ARCONIC ENGINEER
Sitting at the intersection of automotive and aerospace, could flying cars simply be autonomous drones which have been extended to carry people? Could lift be provided by directional electric fans powered by powerful supercapacitors and batteries, which in turn could even be charged by a small gas turbine generator? Additional control and drag reduction might come in the form of plasma actuators.
What if displays of information and images were no longer confined to screens? AR and VR – Virtual Reality has the potential to become a much bigger part of our everyday lives, helping us work, study, play and communicate.
As 3D printing and topology optimization become possible at real scale, we may see new buildings that look like nothing we see today; fewer buildings that look boxy and rectangular, and more that have flowing, organic forms like those we see in nature. Architects could be free to be able to think more like artists, and less like engineers.
As cities become more populated, what if green spaces were incorporated into buildings as places to relax or even grow food? Strong, lightweight materials will be crucial, as well as coatings to manage the effects of the biological matter and water on the structure.
mars rover prototype
There is speculation that many of us will journey to Mars within the next 50 years, and advanced materials and additive manufacturing could make a vital contribution to that mission. Theoretically, using minerals from the Martian surface, we might be able to 3D print some of the necessary equipment and components on Mars, avoiding the need to haul them all the way from Earth.
In the future, aircraft, automobiles and buildings could have sensors built-in that are constantly monitoring their environment and watching for signs of damage or degradation. Should a part appear to be failing, a central system could warn all other vehicles that are being exposed to similar operating conditions.