To warmly welcome back an old Engadget classic, Movie Gadget Friday, we figured it might also be best to take a second look at a staff favorite also recently revived. Three years ago we analyzed the dystopian sci-fi sexiness of the Voight-Kampff and Esper machines, but just as we watched Blade Runner: The Final Cut again for the first time (now on remastered DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray), we're taking a deeper look at a few more of the film's off-the-beaten-path devices.
Pacific Bell's video phone network, which uses massive, junky, old-school CRTs to transmit calls from just about any location, be it Deckard's car or the local bar. A call costs $1.25, and is sure to make drunk dials of the future just that much more horrifying. Vid-Ph?ns do not have embedded Voight-Kampff machines, so they can be considered fairly safe to use for confidential chats between replicants. More after the break.
Used to help light your way if you find yourself caught in the middle of a film noir scene, these umbrellas are more utilitarian than fashion in 2019. Most notably, they serve as a form of safety from being persecuted by police as a replicant. Thankfully, the film influenced the creation of push-button LED umbrellas for those who can't wait another eleven years.
Perhaps one of the most sought-after sights in Blade Runner, when people today ask where their flying car is, it's easy to remember the Spinner. This vertical-thrusting vehicle maneuvers through both the LA streets and the night sky on some fairly silent jet engine power, and comes equipped with roving wheels, vertical-rotating doors (sorry, this future involves no DeLoreans or gull-wings), and a hard, clear-plate floor to watch for replicants while hovering overhead. Full-size Spinner models do exist, but we've yet to take a look under the hood to check out the seemingly small hover-propulsion technology.
We couldn't end this column without mentioning the cult-coolness factor of the actual DVD set created in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the film. Designed to look and open-up like the briefcase in which the Voight-Kampff machine sits in, it comes packed with five discs and a toy model Spinner car for the "ultimate collector" of movie gadgets. Sadly, it doesn't come with an Esper Machine, so we're three years and still waiting for a three-dimensional photo-navigating system (call us snobby, Photosynth just doesn't cut it for us).
Ariel Waldman is a social media insights consultant based in San Francisco. Her blog can be found at http://shakewellbeforeuse.com.