Strange/unusual gadgets, tools & weapons in Films & TV

Dave

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Is this going to be a thread about pop culture film/TV props such as the "Oscillator Overthruster"/"Flux Capacitor"?

From the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 115), "A small hand prop from the 1982 motion picture The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, written by Earl Mac Rauch and directed by W.D. Richter. In the film, the overthruster was invented by Dr. Buckaroo Banzai and was the key to interdimensional travel. A replica of this prop was supplied to Star Trek by modelmaker Greg Jein for use in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, althought it was not actually seen in the film. It was used several times in various Star Trek episodes, but it was never called an overthruster. The first was as an isolinear chip reader used by Wesley Crusher in "11001001" (TNG). The overthruster was repainted and used again in "Pen Pals" (TNG) as a spectral analyser device in the planetary geosciences lab. In "The Best of Both Worlds" (TNG), it was once again repainted and used as a Borg surgical instrument. Dr. Bashir used it as a handheld sensor in "A Man Alone" (DS9). It was a Cardassian tool on at least one occassion. Additional replicas were later made, which appeared among the equipment installed in Zefram Cochrane's spaceship Phoenix during his historic warp flight in Star Trek: First Contact." Note: The film was released in 1984, not 1982.

Apparently, the story is that tech staff on TNG loved The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension so much, that they tried to insert the replica prop into TNG episodes in every way they possibly could, and its appearance is just a one of numerous other references within Star Trek to that film.

It also, of course, appears in all three Back to the Future films as the "Flux Capacitor" in the Delorean car. Then the Flux Capacitor itself has a life of its own beyond those movies.

In addition, according to this webpage, the Oscillation Overthruster gets mentions in the MMORPGs "City of Heroes" and "City of Villains" as a power enhancement:
It boosts your intangibility by roughly 17% if you have that power. The in-game text is: "Pat. Num. 981,480,176. According to the theory that most solid matter is in fact composed of empty space, a person could pass through a wall if his atoms were lined up correctly. This invention does just that, lining up the atoms that compose your body in order to increase the duration of your intangibility power.
And -
The Front 242 album "06:22:03:11 Up Evil" uses a sample of the Overthruster's "deedily-deedily-dee" sound in several places
 

Pyan

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How about everyday items repurposed for futuristic use?

18tvbee.jpeg


21tvbee.jpeg
 

Guttersnipe

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The canned tornado and the blame thrower from Mystery Men. Also, the psycho-frakulator, which turns nightmares into reality, the main villain's weapon.
 

Dave

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The most well know SFF gadget is undoubtedly the Sonic Screwdriver. This is a highly versatile tool used by many people throughout the universe, but the most prominent being The Doctor from Gallifrey, who uses it in his second incarnation, and gives it an upgrade in his third incarnation. Early versions of the sonic screwdriver used by The Doctor were mainly for the picking of locks and for projecting sound i.e. detonate objects and fry circuitry. Thought to have originated on Gallifrey, The Doctor, sometimes claims to have invented it himself, and to have patented or copyrighted it. The Daleks identified it a Sonic Probe, and sometimes others call it a Sonic Trowel or Sonic Blaster, but The Doctor will correct this. From time to time, the Sonic Screwdriver needs to be recharged.
 

CupofJoe

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I enjoy, when watching Bond films, to see what gadgets Q is going to give Bond and then try to guess the highly contrived situation in which that gadget [and no other] will be needed. About the only gadget I really wanted is the magnetic watch James bond uses in Live and Let Die.
 

Dave

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Yes, those James Bond Rolex Submariner watches are iconic. Sean Connery wore one first in Dr. No, but both George Lazenby and Roger Moore wore several too.

I've mentioned Star Trek already but, after James Bond's gadgets, that franchise probably has the most props that have entered pop culture. People who have only vaguely heard of Star Trek and Kirk or Picard, might have heard of the "Captains Chair", or the "Isolinear Chip", or of the medical "Tricorder". However, what about the "PAAD", a Personal Access Display Device, long before anyone had iPads or Tablets, and of course, the flip top "Communicator", long before a miniature mobile phone was even conceivable. (It was a disappointment to me, given how forward thinking Star Trek was with those items, that in Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway still has a desktop PC! o_O )

The deadliest most iconic machine of all? That has to be the Terminator T-800, surely?
 

Pyan

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and of course, the flip top "Communicator", long before a miniature mobile phone was even conceivable. (It was a disappointment to me, given how forward thinking Star Trek was with those items, that in Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway still has a desktop PC! o_O )
The problem with Star Trek tech is that real tech moves on...
kirkandspock2014.jpg


long before a miniature mobile phone was even conceivable
Robert Heinlein had his hero use a mobile phone in Space Cadet, published in 1948.

Matt dug a candy bar out of his pouch, split it and gave half to Jarman, who accepted it gratefully. “You’re a pal, Matt, I’ve been living on my own fat ever since breakfast-and that’s risky. Say, your telephone is sounding.”
“Oh!” Matt fumbled in his pouch and got out his phone. “Hello?”
“That you, son?” came his father’s voice.
“Yes, Dad.”
“Did you get there all right?”
“Sure, I’m about to report in.”
 

Dave

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Matt fumbled in his pouch and got out his phone. “Hello?”
“That you, son?” came his father’s voice.
“Yes, Dad.”

Maybe it's just people of a certain age, but when my phone rings and the person is in my contact list, their name appears as the person calling, yet they invariably will still ask who I am, before they tell me who they are. I know who they are, and didn't they just call me? Who else did they expect?

Anyway, another iconic gadget from the Men in Black franchise would be the Neuralyzer, that small pocket device that completely erases memories with the flash of a bright light.

Also the US telephone box from Bill and Ted, not to mention the police telephone box that is the form that the chameleon circuit of The Doctor's TARDIS has decided to get stuck in
 

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