Popular culture has long imagined a future with flying cars, robotic maids, and teleporters. We viewed the future as an exciting mystery until the events of 9/11 happened, and our view of the future became distinctly more dystopian. Predictions of amazing inventions went out the window as writers envisioned famine, class warfare, and a host of other unpleasant scenarios.

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iStock

We’re not going to say we aren’t experiencing some of those sad and scary phenomena, but inventors and visionaries are finding ways to transform our lives for the better with long-promised, futuristic technology. Here’s a smattering of soon-to-arrive inventions.

The clothing industry is about to arrive in the 21st century.

The digital age has transformed much of our lives, but clothes remain stuck in the past. Seriously, what’s the biggest advance in clothing technology of your lifetime? Wicking underwear? FiveFingers shoes? That’s all about to change.

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X Suit

A highly successful Kickstarter campaign for X Suit raised seven times more than the $50,000 the creator sought. The futuristic garment looks like a well-fitted Italian suit, but it’s much more than that. Because of its full-stretch fabric, lining, and thread, it’s super comfortable, and it doesn’t get wrinkly when it folded in a suitcase.

The best part of the X Suit is that it’s liquid-resistant. The company’s promotional videos show people pouring orange juice and red wine directly onto their X-Suits—then easily brushing the liquids off without a stain.

The X Suit is so comfy that you’ll want to wear it all the time. Thankfully, the breathable fabric and antimicrobial lining reduce smells. Finally, a suit you can wear to bike to work.

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X Suit/Kickstarter

Farming may also get a badly-needed upgrade.

The twentieth century witnessed the transformation of small family farms into high-acreage corporate operations. In fact, giant farms may decline as heirloom vegetables and urban farming become popular. However, the real future of farming may lie entirely indoors—in science labs.

A number of startups are trying their hands at creating cultured meat. This lab-grown tissue relies on technology from regenerative medicine (the medical field in which scientists regrow tissue and organs for humans). The goal is to create a hamburger, meatball, or chicken strip that doesn’t require an animal.

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NBC News

Animal-rights groups love the idea of the potential to reduce animal suffering. Environmentalists love the possibility of preserving more wild habitat and reducing emissions. We just have to wait and see if the foodies love the taste of lab-grown meat.

Speaking of innovative food ideas, gum is about to get a lot healthier.

Sweet Bites, a gum made with the natural sugar substitute Xylitol, could help some of the world’s 4 billion cavity sufferers. Over half of the world has oral conditions, according to a 2013 study from Queen Mary University. An inexpensive piece of gum could make a world of difference in regions where dental care is not an option.

Five University of Pennsylvania students came up with the idea for Sweet Bites. They used their experience from medical research and entrepreneurial business to create a product that could have a significant impact on the world’s poorest citizens.

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Sweet Bites/Indiegogo

According to the Sweet Bites Indiegogo page, before inventing this new style of gum, the students met with a health care expert who told them, “When it comes to health care, free is not cheap enough.” That convinced the students to develop a product that inhibits bacteria in the mouth, neutralizes pH, and helps remineralize teeth.

The healthy gum and its inventors are getting a lot of attention for addressing an urgent need in the developing world. The five students are finalists for a $1 million prize for social business ideas.

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Sweet Bites/Indigogo

Flying cars may never come to fruition, but there are plenty of exciting things happening. We’ll still have to muddle through nasty political situations and inequality, but there’s an army of young people trying to improve the world. We can’t wait to see what else the future has in store.