Tag Archives: Back to the Future

Take a ride around the golf course in this DeLorean cart

“Are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean (golf cart)?”

The DeLorean DMC-12 was a sport car manufactured by the DeLorean Motor Company from 1981 to 1983. The car featured a set of gull-wing doors, an innovative fiberglass chassis and underbody structure, along with a brushed stainless steel body. However, it was the Back to the Future trilogy that made this vehicle a piece of pop culture history.


But where we’re going now, we don’t need an actual DeLorean… That’s because a pair of Canadian auto enthusiasts, Lucas Evanochko and David Heykants, have created their very own version of the iconic time-travelling car — only this time, in the form of a golf cart. You’ll notice that it has the same grey body work, vibrant blue lighting, a flux capacitor and everything else you could possibly imagine from Doc’s ride.


There’s even multi-colored buttons from Retroactive Arcade on the dash, which are attached to an Adafruit Audio FX board. When pressed, they emit several BttF sound effects as well as some of Doc, Marty McFly and Biff’s most famous catchphrases. The sound system uses an 80W class D amp with Bluetooth to allow streaming from any device, too. Additionally, it boasts a built-in seven-inch tablet right in front, which runs the Fluxy88 Time Circuits app and Google Play Music.

All the accessories are juiced up by an isolated 12V system, which is fed off a garden tractor battery mounted under the hood. There’s also a 12V to 5V converter, which provides power to the Adafruit AudioFX and the tablet. Oh, and the capacitor, that’s controlled by an Adafruit Pro Trinket (ATmega328).


From start to finish, nearly 600 hours went into this extremely impressive (and nostalgic) project. And while this vehicle may not travel back in time, even if you’re lucky to hit 8.8 mph), it definitely will look a whole lot cooler than any other cart you’ll find driving around the golf course!

Go Back to the Future with these Maker projects

“The future isn’t written. It can be changed. Anyone can MAKE their future whatever they want it to be.” — Doc Brown

Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to have a time-warping DeLorean that’ll let us travel into the future at warp speed. After watching Back to the Future II, it’s safe to assume that we’ve all been waiting 30 years for October 21, 2015 to finally come — also known as the day that Marty arrives! What better way to pay homage to the ingenuity of Doc — who happens to be a Maker himself — than by compiling a list of our favorite BttF-inspired projects?

2015? You mean we’re in the future?


For anyone who grew up in the ‘80s, this display panel should look incredibly familiar. It’s the time circuit, which Doc built into his 88 mph DeLoren machine. The brainchild of Phillip Burgess, the clock consists of LED displays housed inside a metal-painted acrylic enclosure, controlled a Teesny 2.0 (ATmega32U4) that was able to fit in places that an Arduino couldn’t.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a DeLorean drone!


Back in 2011, YouTuber Native118 decided to honor the cult classic by modding his quadcopter into a DeLorean drone. While it may not have been able to fly through time, it could however fly through the sky… and in style. Its stainless steel body was replaced with lightweight foamcore, and equipped with LED headlights and taillights. Although it even had a mini Mr. Fusion on its back, power was supplied through a LiPo battery. Aside from that, he employed a MultiWii for stabilization, a HobbyKing 12A BlueSeries speed controller and a batch of Turnigy 2204-14T motors for the engines.

Time circuit’s on! Flux capacitor, fluxing!


Just one of the many BttF props that Chris Fry hopes to replicate someday, the Maker recently devised a remote-controlled flux capacitor based on the Arduino Uno (ATmega328). The gadget features several audio tracks and lighting effects with varying modes (e.g. disco and reverse) at different speeds.

Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!


With a love for the DeLorean DMC-12, one pair of Canadian Makers spent more than 600 hours creating a retro-chic BttF golf cart, which boasts speakers that emit phrases from the movie along with a capacitor controlled by an Adafruit Pro Trinket (ATmega328).

Playing the BttF theme with floppies


How do you honor the nostalgic tunes of BttF? Think McFly, think! With floppy music, of course! This is exactly what YouTuber Arganalth did. He attached a Raspberry Pi to a bunch of floppy and HDD drives, housed the entire system inside a suitcase and then programmed the drives’ mechanisms to play the famous songs. He employed a PC that sent the data to an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), plus integrated some batteries for power and portability.

When this baby hits 88mph, you’re gonna see some serious…


In the parking lot at the mall, Doc uses a remote control to drive around his time-traveling car after putting his dog (Einstein) in the driver’s seat. Resembling the original Futaba FP-T8SGA-P, Maker Todd Jones designed a mock controller with an LED counter running an Arduino, along with a sound module that’s typically found inside singing birthday cards. With a flick of a few switches, the device turns on and the display begins to count upwards to the DeLorean’s necessary 88 mph while emitting the character’s legendary phrases.

Size adjusting – fit… Drying mode on. Jacket drying.


With a desire to make Marty McFly’s auto-adjusting jacket a reality, the Instructables crew took it upon themselves to take a glimpse into what a future with self-sizing garments would look like. The team of Makers developed jacket sleeves that start off too long and then go up as if they modify itself to the correct length. This was accomplished by using a 3D-printed pulley mechanism and micro gear motors. Whenever a button on the jacket hem is pushed, cables are wound around a pulley, drawing the sleeves up. These cables are threaded through a simple tube system built inside the jacket and sleeves.

Power laces, alright!


Aside from the DeLorean and hoverboard, there’s one other notable thing from BttF that has left us eagerly waiting to get our hands on feet in for decades. If your recall, Marty throws on a pair of Nike high-top sneakers that automatically lace and tighten by themselves. Tired of having to wait until 2015, Maker Hunter Scott chose to do his part and help make such footwear a reality with the help of Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328) and a few other widely available components. A force sensitive resistor taped beneath the heel of the insole lets the Arduino know when a wearer steps into the shoe, while a rotary encoder on the motor shaft ensures that all the power lace cycles are the same.

Back to the Future II technology that actually exists today

Great Scott! These tech predictions from 1985 actually came true! 

On October 26th, 1985 at 1:20am, Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown and his sidekick Marty McFly hopped into a time-traveling DeLorean DMC-12 (powered by a flux capacitor and Mr. Fusion generator to produce the required 1.21 jigawatts of electricity) and arrived in their hometown of Hill Valley on October 21st, 2015. It was an era full of embedded gadgetry, from home appliances to cars to even clothing. Sound familiar?

While it may have only been a 30-year gap, at the time, 2015 seemed like an entire lifetime away. Throughout the last three decades, the world has experienced plenty of advancements in technology, some of which would even put Back to the Future’s foresight to shame. But in other ways, the movie’s creators made some astonishingly correct predictions about the state of modern electronics — with pretty darn good accuracy, too! When it comes to making, innovating and engineering, who’s better than good ol’ Doc Brown?


Safe to say, today’s world is certainly reminiscent of 2015’s Hill Valley. Here’s how…



What was surely one of, if not, the most iconic pieces of equipment to arise from the movie, we’ve always wondered as to whether the hoverboard would actually to fruition. And it looks like you may be able to hop on one relatively soon. While it may not be a Mattel or Pit Bull, Lexus has unveiled a real, ridable prototype. Additionally, Los Gatos, Caifornia-based Arx Pax has also been developing one of their own, which recently launched a Kickstarter campaign that garnered over $510,000. Unfortunately, they both rely on magnets so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fly over water like Marty. And who could forget Canadian Maker Catalin Alexandru Duru who broke the world record for the longest hoverboard flight back in May? The inventor designed and built an actual machine that could lift off the ground a fairly decent distance, using propellers much like a drone.

 Smart Glasses


In the flick, Marty and his sister spend their time at the dinner table behind a pair of digital glasses, watching TV and answering the phone through their shades. Nowadays, Google Glass more or less allows people to do all the same things, without the clunkiness. Then there’s the advent of VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and head-mounted graphical displays like Microsoft’s Hololens, which happens to have an uncanny resemblance to McFly’s.

Voice Control


Voice-controlled interfaces are now ubiquitous in mobile devices, computers and even several appliances. Heck, just ask Siri. Or Amazon Echo. Or several other alternatives including Homey and Mycroft that are undoubtedly ushering in a new wave of services that’ll listen to you and talk to each of the gizmos throughout your home.

Video Chat


When Marty Sr. is fired by his boss, the ousting occurs via a two-way video call. Not only are these calls commonplace these days on all sorts of devices thanks to apps like Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangout, but some newer smart TVs are even equipped built-in cameras. In fact, this medium has evolved from a mere business tool to an essential facet of everyday life.

Self-Lacing Sneakers


“Alright! Self-tying laces!” Though Nike announced that it was actually going to manufacture auto-lacing high-tops in 2015, several do-it-yourselfers have already taken a stab at creating futuristic footwear. (You’ll want to check out Maker Hunter Scott’s latest project.)

Smart Clothing


Size adjusting – Fit… Drying mode on. Jacket drying. Your jacket is now dry.” Complementing those automated kicks nicely, BttF II had projected a much more convenient age, one in which our clothes would automatically adjust to your body shape. (Talk about one size fits all!) These kinds of things are quite likely, just yet to be invented. We’re already seeing everything from heated coats to smart garments capable of providing their own cleaning instructions to Google’s Project Jacquard that can weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile. Also, it appears that the time-bending sequel may not have been too far off, as intelligent clothing is expected to explode in 2016.

Hands-Free Gaming


“You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!” Kids at Cafe 80s mock Marty for having to use his hands to play an arcade game, implying that Xbox Kinect-style gaming is the norm. And guess what? Today it is!

Drone Journalism


During the flick, a USA TODAY drone captures footage of young Biff being arrested. Today, small unmanned aerial vehicles are enabling photographers and journalists alike to catch footage that would otherwise have been unobtainable — which is not only appealing to cash-strapped news stations but those looking to report on dangerous situations. Take the Occupy Movement, for example, which used Parrot AR Drones to feed real-time events to the masses or CNN, who earlier the year signed an agreement with the FAA.

Wall-Mounted, Multi-Screen TVs


While it’s safe to assume that maybe not everyone has a wall-sized TV like McFly’s family, mounted flat (and even curved) high-def units are ubiquitous to say the least.

Fingerprint Payments


Perhaps Apple engineers turned to BttF II for inspiration when devising its Apple Pay fingerprint payment system?


Back to the Future II Stuff 65

As the movie revealed, those of the future are able to sign petitions (to save the clock tower) by pressing a finger on what looks an awful lot like an iPad or Kindle. Surely enough, over 233 million tablets are expected to be sold in 2015 — an 8% rise from 2014.

Computers Everywhere


In our digital-savvy society, computers are here, there and practically everywhere — more so than ever thanks to the burgeoning IoT. For instance, our homes are now crammed with intelligence and connected to the web, enabling us to control everything from our lights to our thermostats to our ovens.

Keyless Entry


Looks like BttF was right once again, as entering your house, protecting your data and locating your belongings can all be accomplished through biometrics and contactless technologies, namely fingerprints and RFID.

Neon Curbs


Who could ever miss the vibrantly-colored raised pavement around Hill Valley? While we may not be seeing lit curbing in every neighborhood anytime soon, various efforts have been made to implement such technology to enhance traffic safety and promote traffic flow, as well as increase visibility for roundabouts, speed ramps, tunnels and dangerous corners. Plus, LED sidewalks have already emerged in places like the UK and Korea, and Virgin Media has even begun embedding the ground we walk on with Wi-Fi. The future is bright!

Mr. Fusion


Since the film hit theaters, great strides have been made in identifying alternative fuel sources and smaller-scale fusion reactors; however, we have yet to arrive at a device like Mr. Fusion, which was able to transform household waste into energy for Doc’s infamous DeLorean. Though automakers have been focusing more on electricity than banana peels, there has been plenty of work done in the trash-as-gas realm. Environmentalists were driving cars powered by used vegetable oil a while back, while in a newer twist, the UK began running routes on a Bio-Bus that was fuel by food and human waste.

V2V Communication


According to BttF, barcode license plates employed used to identify cars. It is assumed that they could reveal much more information once scanned than a standard plate which only previously displayed a six or seven alphanumeric digit combination. Well, it would appear that the filmmakers weren’t that off. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication and enhanced scanning technologies has even made way for lawmakers to petition futuristic identification on license plates.

Robotic Waiters


Marty was able to order a Pepsi from an automated countertop the Cafe 80s, not too unlike today where robots can sell you coffee, brew you a cup of tea, whip up a perfect cocktail or even check you into a hotel.

Food Hydrators


Mrs. McFly throws a tiny Pizza Hut pizza into the family’s Black & Decker Food Hydrator and, in a few seconds, comes out as a full-size pie. While we may not yet have this impressive hydrator, we are inching closer to the day we can 3D print an entire pizza in just 20 minutes.

Facial Recognition


Upon landing in the future, Doc utilizes his specially-designed binoculars to spot Marty Jr. on the street. Not surprisingly, facial recognition is being used constantly today, from tagging people in Facebook photos to keeping away intruders at home.

Automated Fueling


For the most part, filling a car up is still practically the same as it was in 1985, but that could be about to change soon. One Dutch company debuted an automated fueling robot (TankPitstop) a few years ago, while another hands-free system is being developed in the U.S. by Husky. Then there’s Tesla, who has even unveiled a snake-like contraption for its electric cars to recharge when inside a garage.

Flying Cars and Skyways


Driverless, autonomous and connected cars are starting to hit the roadways, but flying vehicles? Not quite yet. However, projects like Terrafugia’s TF-X and AeroMobil 3.0 are hoping to change that.

[Images: Back to the Future Wiki; Universal Pictures]

Maker builds his own self-lacing sneakers

Footwear that’s just in time for Back to the Future Day! 

Aside from a time-travelling DeLorean DMC-12 and hoverboard, there’s one other notable design from Back To The Future II that has left us eagerly waiting to get our hands on feet in for years. During the cult classic, Marty McFly puts on a pair of Nike high-top sneakers that automatically lace and tighten on their own. With October 21, 2015 finally upon us, Maker Hunter Scott decided to do his part and help make such footwear a reality.


Impressively, Scott didn’t even need Dr. Emmett Brown’s help to bring this idea to life. Instead, he ordered himself a pair of knockoff Nike Air Mag sneakers and gathered several widely available parts, including an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), a LiPo battery, a USB charger, a motor, a motor driver, a shaft coupler and a rotary encoder. He also incorporated a switch to turn the kicks on/off and a button to activate the system.

The BttF-inspired shoes came with removable strap which Scott ended up removing part of its velcro, allowing it to slide without catching. The Maker carved out a notch in the back to install the motor, shaft coupler and encoder, and used a little bit of fishing line to go around the top, providing the power behind the laces.


A force sensitive resistor taped beneath the heel of the insole lets the Arduino know when a wearer steps into the shoe, while a rotary encoder on the motor shaft ensures that all the power lace cycles are the same.

Admittedly, the DIY sneaks are not exactly likes the ones worn on the big screen. For one, they don’t loosen automatically — you’ll have to hit the button for that. Secondly, Scott points out that they pale in comparison to the speed of McFly’s kicks… for now anyway. Regardless, they’re pretty darn cool if you ask us! Intrigued? Check out the Maker’s entire project here, or watch them in action below.

McFly! Self-lacing shoes really are coming this year

Aside from the time-travelling DeLorean DMC-12 and hoverboard, there was another notable design from Back To The Future II we’ve all been waiting for to come to fruition: self-tying laces.

At last, Nike has confirmed that they are indeed working on the Hollywood-inspired shoe. Earlier this month, shoe designer Tinker Hatfield (who had also created Marty McFly’s shoes for the film) expressed that the self-lacing Nike MAGs will be available later this year coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the original BTTF flick.

The new footwear will feature power laces, in which motorized rollers in the sole sense weight and tighten when someone steps into the shoes, as seen in the iconic film. To support evidence that this innovation is more than just a clever concept, Nike has already filed a patent for the futuristic footwear. This should come with little surprise, as the idea has been in the works for a while now. If you recall, the company has already experienced incredible demand for such a sneaker back in 2011 when they had auctioned off 1,500 pairs of limited edition MAGs. At the time, the proceeds went to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.


This announcements follows in the footsteps of recent reports, which indicate the rise of smart clothing. While wrist-adorned devices will continue on, Gartner believes the emergence of less invasive devices, particularly embedded garments, will potentially disrupt the wearables space. So much so that shipments of smart attire is projected to increase from a mere 0.1 million units in 2014 to 26 million units in 2016 — and maybe more, pending on the popularity of the power laces!

While we await the arrival of these high-tech high-tops, a San Francisco-based Maker Blake Bevin has already created her own kicks capable of tying themselves using ATmega168. When a person steps into the shoe, a force sensor reads the pressure of their foot and activates two servo motors, which apply tension to the laces, thus tightening the shoe.

To commemorate this next-gen footwear, we’ve compiled 10 high-tech shoes indicating that the future has arrived.

Shoes that play music

The adidas MEGALIZER lets breakdancers create their own music with their moves.

Shoes that light up

Using an Adafruit NeoPixel strip and FLORA (ATmega32U4), anyone can add some flare to their high-tops.

Shoes that give directions

Bluetooth-enabled Lechal sneakers sync with Google maps and help guide you to your destination.

Shoes that are 3D-printed

Nike’s Vapor Laser Talon cleats not only used 3D printing for prototyping, but implemented a 3D-printed plate into the final product that made its debut at Super Bowl XLVIII.

Shoes that start fire

The sole of Rocky S2V Substratum hiking boots feature a small compartment specially designed to fit a fire-starting kit.

Shoes that power devices

German researchers have built shoe-sized devices that harvest power from the act of walking.

Shoes that receive tweets

For the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Nash Money Design teamed up with adidas to create the Social Media Barricade shoe. Equipped with a two-line LCD screen, the sneaker were able to receive Twitter updates.

Shoes that repair themselves

Developed by London designer Shamees Aden, the self-healing concept shoes are 3D-printed from material using protocell technology.

Shoes that save lives

A new sensor-laden shoe made by Swedish researchers allows firefighters to be tracked in places where GPS fails.

Shoes that know when you need a new pair


Apple has applied for a patent of “smart shoes” that would come with embedded sensors to track your activity and tell you when you need a new pair.

Video: Tony Hawk rides a real hoverboard

Great Scott! Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk recently took a ride on a real hoverboard, similar to the one depicted in the cult classic Back to the Future. Now, all you need are some self-lacing shoes and you’re good to go! Watch Hawk ride the board below.


Watch out Doc, this DeLorean quadcopter is flying back to the future

Now this may very well be the most incredible (scale) model of Doc Brown’s DeLorean DMC-12 we’ve ever seen…


Not only is it a fully-functioning quadrotor, it is packed with LED headlights and taillights, as well as glowing wheels. Sparing no detail to the body, this replica even features a mini Mr. Fusion on its back.

The flying machine’s stabilization control is powered by an ATmega328P based MultiWii, a HobbyKing 12A BlueSeries speed controller, and a batch of Turnigy 2204-14T motors for the engines.

Designing a DeLorean-inspired time circuit clock with ATmega32u4

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shh….”


While the DeLorean may have been the most iconic part of Back to the Future’s time-traveling machine, we can’t forget the flux capacitor, Mr. Fusion and of course, the future time circuit display, that made it all possible.

Paying homage to the cult classic, Maker Phil Burgess recently recreated the futuristic clock along with an accompanying tutorial on Adafruit so any movie fanatic could bring their favorite ‘80s movie prop to life. Though the creator admits that he doesn’t own a DeLorean, or any car for that matter, using it as desk or Halloween decor should work just as well.


The base of the clock is comprised of a set of LED displays in a metal-painted, laser-cut acrylic housing, controlled by an ultra-slim Teensy dev board (ATmega32u4).

Ready to channel your inner Doc Brown? Access the entire step-by-step breakdown of the time circuit by flying over to its official Adafruit page.

Designing a flux capacitor from Back to the Future

In a recent Instructables post, Maker Chris Fry (who goes by the handle of n1cod3mus) details his journey to construct a flux capacitor from the ‘80s classic Back to the Future. Using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), Fry certainly succeeded at his task.


In the post, Fry discusses his early obsessions with the hilarious film trilogy, “10 years back I decided I wanted to build a flux capacitor, but I got stuck back then because I didn’t have the correct skills at that time.”

Much like Dr. Brown, now a decade into the future, he decided to come back to it with my now improved skills and technology.

The Maker did some serious research to assure that his flux capacitor was as authentic as possible. After scouring the web he concluded that the enclosure was a Stahlin J1210HPL, which is now out of production. He used stills from the film to color and outfit this case as accurately as imaginable.


Though, he does divulge one change from Doc’s initial iteration claiming, “The original flux capacitor used in the films used incandescent bulbs, LEDs are better suited for our needs.” Subsequently, he went on to attach the Arduino to control each of the device’s many LEDs.


Once securing the electronics within the box and wiring up a speaker, the talented Maker even found time to add a remote control to this prop. In the video below, you can see the full device in action.

Looking to get up to speed on Fry’s project before October 21, 2015? You can find his entire Instructables post here. If you want to explore one of his latest projects, discover how he turned old floppy drives into tunes.

Great Scott! Electric Bubblegum is an Arduino-powered, low-cost electric skateboard

Alright, alright… Though we might not be living in a Back to the Future-esque world just yet, technology certainly has progressed quite a bit since the days of 1985. While we inch ever so close to the era of ubiquitous hoverboards, a Maker by the name of Andrew James and his team have set out to design the next best thing: a low-cost electric skateboard with custom printed parts that would be replaceable on-the-fly. Skateboarders are know to take a tumble or two, therefore the ability to instantly swap parts will keep riders in the game.


The team’s creation, aptly dubbed “Electric Bubblegum,” is an electric skateboard controlled by a Nintendo Wii remote. Having recently made its Kickstarter debut, the board weighs just 12 pounds and is capable of reaching speeds of 21mph with a range of 10 miles. This thing doesn’t look like the old skateboard collecting dust in your garage, either. Bubblegum Boards offer six different neon color combinations to fit the eye of any skater.

Before the team took the deck to the street, they diligently tested a few prototypes to make sure they were moving forward with a safe design that fit their parameters. Even after traveling 120 miles on one of their boards, the Electric Bubblegum was still riding strong.


Let’s face it, skateboards get beat up which means parts will break over time, and will need to be replaced. One of the best features about this team of Makers’ concept is that when a part wears out, say a pulley or cover, a user can easily 3D print out their own replacement on-demand. Each backer of their recently-launched Kickstarter campaign receives a USB stick with all of the proper schematics loaded onto it.


The inner design components of the Electric Bubblegum rely on inputs from a Wii Nunchuk that are then computed by an onboard Atmel based Arduino. This pairing allows the rider to control throttle, braking, throttle sensitivity and cruise control. The built-in Arduino unit provides seamless wireless connectivity between the two instruments as well, assuring safety at all times.

To add to the Electric Bubblegum’s already awesome features, the Bubblegum Boards squad will custom build boards for those seeking a truly unique riding experience. Time to grab your board and put on your AVR powered self-lacing sneakers, and you’ll be good to go! Wait, did you say Marty McFly-like shoes?

For more information about how to get rolling with an Electric Bubblegum deck, skate on over to their official Kickstarter page.