Wakanda is the mythical land of the “Black Panther” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”. It displays some of the most advanced futuristic technology that we have seen in any land both real and fantasy. While some of these technologies are pure fiction and far from reality—many Wakandan technological advancements are inspired by real-life tech and other technological concepts that are closer than you may think.
One of the major technologies in the world of Wakanda is Vibranium, which is a fictional alien metal that has fantastical properties that help advance technology. Vibranium can be used in various weapons, armor, and communication systems.
One of the most intriguing ways that Vibranium is used in the film is in the Kimoyo Beads, which incorporates all of these various aspects, within a Kimoyo Bead bracelet. It seems as though the Kimoyo Bead bracelet can be found on many everyday citizens in Wakanda. This may play into the overall idea that the technology of Wakanda has been democratized and available for everyone within the land.
In the film, the Vibranium-powered Kimoyo beads can be used in various ways. The various uses of Kimoyo Beads include electromagnetic bombs used to destroy information systems, remote piloting of various vehicles, a microphone and speaker setup for eavesdropping, real-time communication that also includes a built-in holographic display, and because of the fantastical properties of the Vibranium, it can also be used to heal.
A lot of this technology centers around the fictional alien metal of Vibranium, but the various aspects of the Kimoyo beads can be represented in many real-world technologies. The communication capability of the Kimoyo Beads with the holographic display can be thought of as our modern smartphones and the wearable technology of smartwatches. While the holographic 3D video-conferencing system aspect of the Kimoyo Beads is still being worked on in the real world including Porto (formerly known as Portl), the communication capability of the technology and the way it’s portrayed in the film as a prevalent technology for the people may be similar to our smart devices.
As far as some of the other technologies that are being applied by the Kimono Beads, the ability to remotely pilot a vehicle is similar to our ability to fly drones controlled by our smartphones. With the other applied technologies within the Kimono Beads (besides electromagnetic bombs)—there’s probably an app for that.
In the comics, the Black Panther is a superhero that not only has some of the most powerful technology, which includes the Black Panther suit, but he also harnesses the power of a meteorite mutated plant called the “heart-shaped herb” giving him additional superpowers. While we won’t get into the potential botany explanations—let’s dive into the Black Panther suit and what the technology does for the superhero.
The Black Panther suit has Vibranium sewn into the fabric further advancing the technology incorporated within the suit. The suit gives the user enhanced strength, speed, nearly impenetrable protection, and the ability to absorb a tremendous amount of kinetic energy and use it when needed. It also monitors the wearer’s vital signs and biometrics including heart rate. It then wirelessly sends the information to connected computers.
In the movie, the suit and all of its technology can fit seamlessly and invisibly into a necklace. While modern technology isn’t quite close to being able to accomplish fitting all of the technology into an accessory, the rest of the technology isn’t as fantastical as it may seem. In many ways, the technology found in the suit is similar to a combination of stretchable bioelectronics and nanomaterials that can measure a body’s biometrics and the robotic exoskeleton suit that has been developed by the army.
These technologies have been around for some time and are being innovated in various ways and for various purposes.
There are many futuristic vehicles of transportation in the films, which include the Talon Fighters and Royal Talon Fighters, the Dragon Flyer, levitating chariots, and a magnetic levitation (Maglev) train. The technologies that are incorporated within these futuristic technological vehicles are self-piloting planes and virtual reality-operated vehicles
This can be attributed to real-life VR-operated drones that users can remotely pilot from a headset. There are even competitions (via The Drone Racing League) that test the skills of VR-operated drone pilots. While we aren’t close to flying cars just yet—the technology behind Wakanda’s magnetic levitation rail system is similar to the ultra-high-speed ground transportation project by Elon Musk called the Virgin Hyperloop.
The Hyperloop is a system that uses a network of tubes that will connect various hubs worldwide. The technology used in the Hyperloop sounds similar to Wakanda’s tech in many ways. An electromagnetic force levitates and propels the pod within the vacuum tube reducing air friction and drag. The Hyperloop pod floats within the tube with a frictionless magnetic cushion. This low-pressure atmosphere allows for high speed and low energy consumption.
Even in the real world, we aren’t too far from a magnetic levitation rail system. The Hyperloop already completed its first human test run in 2020, and the potential commercialization looks to be around 2025 or 2026.
In the original film, Shuri shows King T’Challa (the Black Panther) one of her latest inventions, shoes that are “fully automated like the old American movie baba used to watch”. She references the movie Back to the Future and Marty McFly’s self-lacing sneakers.
The fully automated footwear showcased in Wakanda is far more advanced than McFly’s Nike sneakers. Shuri’s fully automated footwear are sneaker insoles on the ground and once King T’Challa steps on them, a shoe forms on his feet out of nowhere.
Although we aren’t close to shoes appearing from an insole, real-life self-lacing Nike Mags from the Back to the Future movies have been available to the public since 2019. Since then, Nike has released various forms of technology in their Nike Adapt line of sneakers. Users can customize their sneaker color and fit with the Nike Adapt App through voice commands using Siri Shortcuts or Google Voice.
In Wakanda, one of the major driving forces of their technology lies within the extraterrestrial rare metallic ore called Vibranium. If tempered properly through a mixture of science and magic, the metal can amplify mystical energies and enhance technologies by tapping into energy at a virtually infinite quantum level.
This magical alien metal isn’t available to innovators in the real world, but our technological advancements even without this powerful (and fictional) metal continues to be nothing short of remarkable. Many of the technologies that are found within the Black Panther and Wakanda Forever have real-world representations that continue to be used by everyday superheroes for everyday tasks.