Last time on Movie Gadget Friday, we entered the 8th dimension with The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, but this week, we're setting the dial back to the 1978 version of the Seventh Millenia in the original Battlestar Galactica. Filled with feathered 70's haircuts, insect Ovion aliens, and, of course, Cylons, the movie is an underrated, campy classic.
Created as a robotic replacement to a daggit, Muffit II is a life-size, artificial intelligence prototype developed by Dr. Wilker on the Battlestar Galactica. Muffit II has an integrated visual response system, designed to help train the robotic daggit. By scanning a picture of a person into its circuits, Muffit II actively responds and interacts with them. The out-of-the-box system is able to handle basic moves such as sitting and wiggling its ears. However, with time, the robo-daggit can learn to be smart, performing such tasks as disarming Cylons by biting them in the leg while humans try to escape rapid fire. We're patiently awaiting a Muffit II vs. Roboquad throw down challenge. More after the break.
These triangular fighter probe crafts seem more jet than spacecraft, but their capabilities span both the not-so-friendly-war-torn skies and the vast depths of space. Packed with some serious laser-power, selecting 'FIRE' from the joystick cockpit controller will render an entire enemy ship to explode with just one well-aimed shot. Yep, just like that. The joystick also features 'TURBO' and 'IM' for controlling the three embedded engines. While 'IM' doesn't account for any inter-pilot text chat, pressing it does turn on the reverse thrusters, so as to narrowly avoid incoming attacks. Being green is also important in the Seventh Millenia: Colonial Vipers are said (by Wikipedia) to utilize "commonly occurring gases in planetary atmospheres to power the ship's fusion reactor energy source". With a fighter craft so slick, we have to question why the fleet would ever require such lame attire (like the LED-rope-light-lined fighter helmets).
Barely classified as a handheld, this bulky device is designed to translate languages across alien encounters. The gadget comes with a built-in microphone / speaker for input of the spoken language as well as audio output of the translation. Despite its design pitfalls, the Languatron does have an impressive range for accurate translation, which is necessary when being within earshot of a potential enemy is close enough. We're certain the four red lights don't appear to indicate much beyond it being in use, but we'd definitely like to know more about why its UI designer decided it needed RETURN and LTR keys.
Ariel Waldman is a social media insights consultant based in San Francisco. Her blog can be found at http://shakewellbeforeuse.com.