The brilliant imagination of science fiction writers and movie producers always leaves us hoping that the devices and gadgets presented in books and Hollywood productions became a reality. Some of these tools would have numerous practical applications while other would, well, just be cool to have.
However, although the sci-fi devices are based on dazzling concepts, they are also beyond the realm of possibility due to the current level of technological advancements. Nevertheless, that won’t stop people from thinking of numerous ways they could put them into practice in order to improve their lives or simply have fun. Let’s review a top ten of the anxiously anticipated science fiction devices.
1. The light sabers from Star Wars
The light saber might not be an exactly original concept, but the Star Wars series is definitely what made it so popular. Sci-fi books like “Gather Darkness”, “Ringworld” or “Pastel City” also have their rudimentary versions of light sabers, but thanks to the brilliant vision of animator Nelson Shin, Star Wars now has its very own signature weapon. Surprisingly enough, even though the Lucas Arts universe includes blasters, the light saber is certainly the star of the show. The ability to slash through virtually anything, its distinctive hum, the sharp fluorescent looks and the fact that its requires a lot of skill to wield make every Star Wars fan eagerly await the moment when they can butter the toast with a miniature light saber.
2. Tricorders, the multifunctional scanners used in Star Trek
The newest technology integrated in smartphones and tablets suggests we’re getting closer and closer to getting our very own multipurpose scanner/sensor/data recorder. Tricorders come in 3 basic versions in the Star Trek universe, the ones used by engineers to gather information regarding the status of the ship’s engines, the type employed by the medical personnel to diagnose patients and the category utilized by the field teams to scan the environment. Considering that a simple hand-held gadget could permit us to acquire information about anything in our proximity, who wouldn’t want one?
3. Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver
Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver is basically an improved version of the tricorder, but with a twist. The sonic gadget popularized by the British movies and TV series has numerous functions in addition to the multipurpose scanning feature. It can act as triangulation device, hacking tool, cutter, light source, defensive weapon and yes, even as an actual screwdriver. In spite of the name that suggests it utilizes sonic waves, the Gallifrey-based technology is never fully explained. However, there are hints that lead fans to believe the Doctor is actually the one who invented it and, in the episode “The Sound of Drums”, his arch nemesis has his very own version of the tool: the laser screwdriver.
4. The Babel fish from the book “A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”
Among the many innovative concepts brought to life by the brilliant mind of Douglas Adams, the Babel fish is probably the most useful one. This little yellow creature with a slug-like appearance is described as one of the oldest beings in existence and it functions as an universal translator. Douglas Adams depicts its modus operandi as feeding on the brain’s waves of energy and excreting telepathic matrixes that are afterwards decoded and transmitted to the speech center of the brain. Voila, instant translation between all languages of the universe.
5. The M41-A pulse rifles from Aliens
In the Alien universe, the M41-A pulse rifle constitutes the standard issue weapon of the Marine Corps, but many variants of the rifle exist. The pulse rifles are constructed from extremely lightweight materials, have an incredible rate of fire, an automatic computer-assisted accuracy booster and 4 grenades with a massive splash damage radius. However, they become obsolete later on with the introduction of heavily armored Praetorians.
6. The phasers from the Star Trek television series
Another weapon, this time from the Star Trek world, the phaser can also be regarded as a multipurpose tool. It has shoot to kill settings, it can act as a stun gun and you could also use it as a blowtorch that cuts through the most durable materials. Very few alien species presented in Star Trek were actually immune or able to withstand a phaser blast.
7. The “point of view” guns seen in “A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”
The “point of view” gun is not really a weapon, but rather a communication enhancer. To put it simply, its main role is to make your interlocutor see things from your perspective after firing at them. The “Guide” informs readers that the original purpose of the weapon was to help in the search for the answer to life, but ended up being utilized by the Consortium of Angry Housewives in order to make their oblivious and insensible husbands understand their point of view.
8. The Holodeck from the Star Trek series
Holodecks are the virtual reality simulators of the Star Trek universe and also one of best representations of the concept in the entire sci-fi world. The primary application of the Holodeck was entertainment, but in several episodes it also helps the team solve mysteries and recuperate from various emotional traumas.
9. Doctor Who’s Tardis
The only thing better than simulating any reality you choose is being able to visit any point in time and space. That is exactly what Doctor Who’s ship – the Tardis – permits you to do, but the only setback of the vehicle consists of its inability to travel between parallel universes without generating a fissure in the fabric of time and space. The impenetrable, immovable and indestructible ship is also a living creature with a mind and soul of its own.
10. The Neuralyzer in the Men in Black trilogy
Even though the Men in Black movie trilogy introduced a myriad of advanced technological gadgets, the Neuralyzer will always be the most popular one. This little device has the ability to wipe out the short term memory of a person and its role is to help the MIB agency in preventing the public discovery of aliens on our planet. However, the negative potential of the Neuralyzer makes it difficult to believe that scientists would make it available to the world in the event that they could actually create it.