For last week's installment of Movie Gadget Friday, we featured a two-part look at 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact, in honor of the late great Arthur C. Clarke. This week we fast forward a few more years to 2021 in the "cyberpunk" world of Johnny Mnemonic. The gadgets are as hilariously lame as the lines, which likely led this 1995 film to its mixed reviews, and Keanu to his later role as Neo. From fax machines to Zip Disk-like passports, we can only hope the future of technology doesn't look this grim.
Shoved into the back of his skull and wet-wired to his brain, Johnny comes equipped with a shockingly small 80GB chunk of memory capable of smugging data between international borders. An input for a standard headphone jack is located at the back of his head and serves as the only port for uploads -- which are pretty painful. New data can be accepted from seemingly any source connecting to the input, however, MiniDiscs appear to be smugglers' preference thanks to their easy ability to be burned once an upload is complete. (This is key when expecting a mob with machine guns to show up at any minute.) Thankfully, individually-wrapped memory doublers can help boost implant storage capacity for double the data smuggling -- we hope it uses lossless compression. Unfortunately, instead of receiving an error for exceeding capacity, anyone with an overloaded brain implant risks certain death within a couple days by the resulting synaptic seepage. More after the break.
If you're suffering from web withdrawal symptoms and need the internet in a pinch, you can hack yourself a computer with just a few gadgets that are sure to be lying around in any abandoned warehouse. With a Sino-Logic 16, Sogo-7 data gloves, GPL stealth module, Burdine intelligent translator, and some Thompson eye-phones (hey, Apple can't win every lawsuit), you too can build yourself a virtual reality platform. The Sino-Logic 16 integrates multiple devices and tasks into creating a purely GUI experience devoid of any use for WIMPs (or a mouse and keyboard for that matter). The interface responds to the seemingly over-the-top gestural movements by the user's interaction with the Sogo-7 data gloves. The system interacts with the user as well, politely sending out electrical shocks for entering in incorrect access codes.
On your TV, desktop, Bible, or in the backseat of a cab, video phones are on just about every street corner (but oddly not in every pocket). Operated by AT&T (who else?), these full-color screens transmit uninterrupted live video phone calls. While the service is solid, the lack in quality and features definitely leaves much to be desired. The amount of graininess varies from screen to screen but the basic numeric keypad remains the same. Left with no QWERTY keyboard and only a TV remote control to dial long distance, we'd rather have our hands on a Video-Phone-B-Gone.
Ariel Waldman is a social media insights consultant based in San Francisco. Her blog can be found at http://arielwaldman.com.