Half the fun of cinema is that it is able to transport us into ‘other worlds’ and allow us the time to let our imaginations run free.
With the anticipated release of The Avengers in South Africa this weekend, which sees the return of the enigmatic Ironman and all of his wonderful high-tech toys, the editorial team at IT News Africa compiled a Top Ten list of gadgets that formed part of a few memorable films – and which would be rather cool to own as well.
1. Hoverboard – Back to the Future
Fans of Marty McFly’s travelling escapades in the Back to the Future trilogy will recall how Michael J. Fox’s character ‘outran’ his foes using the famous hoverboard! A floating contraption that mimics the skateboard – only in mid-air!
2. Gesture-based computer – Minority Report
Although it might wreak havoc on your arms and legs, and give you a good workout in the process, the amazing computer from Minority Report is definitely one of the coolest gadgets. Although Microsoft and PlayStation both have gesture-based peripherals for their consoles, it would be really cool if one could control and flip through windows like in the film on a normal desktop computer. If done correctly, it would completely eliminate the use for a traditional keyboard and mouse.
3. Lightsaber – Star Wars
Who can forget the many epic battles between the dark side and Jedi Knights using the iconic multi-coloured lightsabers? The handheld death-light-sword had an unmistakeable and instantly-recognisable sound, and the lightning speed hand-to-hand combat had audiences enthralled from the very first encounter.
4. Universal Translator – Star Trek
With travelling being much easier today than an couple of decades ago, more tourists are visiting foreign countries, and with that comes one problem – the language barrier. So for that reason it would be very handy to have the Universal Translator from Star Trek. While on holiday, it will translate the spoken word instantly into any language the user understands. Although there are similar products available today, people need to record, analyse and listen to audio before it’s translated – this will do it on-the-fly. Similarly, the Babble Fish from A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy will also do. When stuck to your ear, it instantly translates any speech spoken to you.
5. Invisibility Cloak – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
JK Rowling’s famous boy wizard was the envy of all when he first discovered the powers of the Invisibility Cloak at Hogwarts. When he covered himself in the cloak, he became instantly invisible to all, and only appeared again when it was removed. Although the cloak isn’t commercially available by any stretch of the imagination, it will still be very cool to have.
6. Force field – virtually any space film
Having a layer of protection around anything will dramatically extend the lifespan of the protected object, and for that reason it would be very beneficial to have a readily-available force field. The field could then be applied to any object that needs protection – such as houses, cars, or even people when entering into dangerous situations.
7. Cigarette Dart Gun – James Bond: You Only Live Twice
“Smoking kills” is the message one reads on the modern cigarette box. But, back in ‘67, when Bond, James Bond, was shaken and not stirred, he used a dart gun disguised as cigarettes to kill. An interesting – albeit unorthodox – spy gadget!
8. Lightbike – TRON
The Lightbike from the TRON franchise is probably one of the most iconic motorcycles in sci-fi film history. The black and shocking neon colouring will be enough to turn heads when hurtling down the highway, but the incredible speeds the bike can achieve will no doubt attract the attention of the authorities. It would be super awesome to have, beautiful to look at and probably incredibly expensive to even design.
9. The Neuralyzer – Men In Black
The MIB team had to ensure the safety of the planet and they did this with awesome technology – especially the Neuralyzer. This device instantly erased the memory of anyone that had come into contact- either intentionally or unintentionally- with aliens. We can think of a few instances that this device would come in handy today!
10. SQUID – Strange Days
SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interface Device) allowed users in the film Strange Days to record their experiences, emotions and feelings – and then share them with however is interested. It’s a super cool concept, as users will be able to experience any activity they have ever wished for – flying in a spaceship, being a pirate for a day or even take a lap around a circuit as a race car driver. The idea didn’t turn out so well for the characters in the film though, but if that was developed with today’s technology it will certainly be a whole lot safer.
Chris Tredger (Business Editor) and Charlie Fripp (Consumer Tech editor)