10 Futuristic Products in Development Now

Robot-controlled military drones and vat meat. The future is in our hands. Now what’s left is to see what’s done with these 10 seemingly-fictional but very real futuristic products.

To promote its new fuel cell vehicle, which has zero exhaust emissions, Mercedes pulled a stunt that showed off an “invisible” car with incredibly low environmental impact.

Although Mercedes says the hydrogen-powered drive system is “ready for series production,” it’s speculated to not be in comercialization until 2014.

Japan is progressing with its ambitious idea of creating a space elevator, which extends an extremely strong cable from a spaceport on the ground up to a space station in geosynchronous orbit, 22,000 miles above the earth.

The 30-passenger elevator car will travel from ground to space station at 125mph, delivering its human cargo to the space station eight days later. The elevator car will contain living quarters and other tourist attractions on board.

The Japanese say they’ll be able to build this technological marvel by 2050, according to DVICE.

Cars already have GPS, lane-departure warning systems and self-parking features, so it was only a matter of time before driverless cars became a real thing.

Google received the patent for self-driving car technology and is already testing it out in Nevada.

Image courtesy of Flickr Viernest.

4. Robotic Assistants

From simple tasks such as opening a door to helping paralyzed patients walk, robots have become far more advanced than ever before.

In fact, a new study predicts that every home will have a robotic assistant to perform common household tasks within the next 10 years.

Image courtesy of thearmrobot.com/gallery.

5. Flying Cars

The long-running joke of the future has almost always included a flying car reference — and now it’s really happening. Terrafugia developed the concept, which will be available for pre-sale at the 2012 New York auto show.

Image courtesy of Terrafugia.

In an attempt to protect the environment, Dutch scientists are looking into lab-grown meat production. Scientists say that artificial meat could improve efficiency by at least 35%.

The practice turns stem cells from animals into inch-long strips of muscle tissue, which can then be mashed together to create a patty. PETA hopes to do the same with chicken by the end of June.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Another Pint Please.

To further explore life on the moon, space agencies are already looking into constructing a permanent base. This would mean either establishing a base on the moon or launching a station to orbit it.

Image courtesy of Flickr, wicho.

Over the next five years, IBM hopes to develop a computer that responds via our thoughts. A person wears a headset, which can detect signals from the brain, and sends them to a computer which tells the machine what to do.

The computer then maps signals to diggerent actions, which teaches the machine to adapt specifically your thoughts.

9. Drones

President Obama has already signed legislation permitting the Federal Aviation Administration to allow law enforcement agencies to use remotely controlled drones.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Illetirres.

10. Wireless Electricity

Wired charging could be a thing of the past. Companies are already working to make cellphone charging wireless, and it’s likely other devices will follow suit.

Image courtesy of Flickr, romainguy.

 Everyone jokes about the flying cars and robot maids we’ve seen in movies and television, but it turns out the “future” we’ve dreamed of is well on its way.

The majority of these are just concepts, but all are definitely in effect, one way or another. In fact, you can technically purchase a flying car for the low, low price of $200,000. However, it will be a bit longer until we can purchase them as easily as a Honda Civic.

Every day we advance in technology, space exploration, medicine and more. From mind reading to in vitro meat, here are ten crazy peeks at what is coming for the future.

This May we’ll be exploring the future of digital at our signature conference, Mashable Connect. See below for all the details.