Ariel Waldman contributes Movie Gadget Friday, where she highlights the lovable and lame gadgets from the world of cinema.

On our last visit, we examined the computer hacking fantasies of 1980's adolescents in Weird Science. Skipping on from software-engineered babes to a bio-engineered society, this week we investigate the gadgets in the human-clone-saturated cities of Code 46. Though most of the futuristic technology in this 2003 film is in the form of mind-altering viruses, the everyday devices used by Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton slightly stretch today's technical specs in true sci-fi form.


Memory Videobook

Preventing scrapbooks from being left behind as primitive forms of experience archiving, this gadget combines the cheap plastic form of photo-books with a relatively thin interactive screen. The device captures first-person memories from a user in the form of lossy video (alas, the specs behind memory capturing have yet to be released, much to our irritation). Playback and fast-forward/rewind are enabled through basic scrolling gestures on either the corner of the video or the opposing soft-acrylic, touch-sensitive finger pad. Similar to Americhip's video-in-print technology, the memory videobook appears to use a TFT LCD, but with a far more outstanding resolution. While this memory scrapbook device is far from chic, we kind of respect that it stays true to its historical laminated, cutesy form despite the high tech modifications. More after the break.



Video Phone


With bandwidth as a non-issue on a global-scale, it's little surprise that a competent video phone finally emerged. At about the dimensions of a credit card by a ten millimeter thickness, this tiny metal-cased communication device packs a punch. The speaker/microphone quality alone is nothing short of amazing with it's pitch-perfect technology combined with sheer volume that can compensate for being in crowded, loud venues. The form factor of the phone is about as simple as its limited functionality for video chatting; an indented screen with a single button controlling the interface. From in-car webcams to virtual reality video goggles, this phone serves as just one of a multitude of devices necessary to always be accessible via video. We're itching to get our hands on one so we can tinker with the impressive technology that makes this tiny mobile tick.


Interior Touchscreen

Able to be embedded in relatively thin panes of glass, this transparent screen seamlessly fits inside windows as well as receives a charge wirelessly, making it a minimalist's dream. The consumable content this technology offers is fairly straight-forward: TV, alarm clock, calendar, etc. Projection quality and audio appear to be adequate, but not phenomenal. However, the user experience aims to make the everyday a little more delightful. The screen can be controlled by a series of voice commands and touch gestures and will greet and speak back to you as needed. The device can also be integrated with a variety of domestic needs, such as providing a video feed of your front door when an unidentified fingerprint rings the doorbell. Overall, pretty slick from a convenience factor, but we probably won't replace any of our existing devices with it just yet.



Ariel Waldman is a digital anthropologist and the founder of Spacehack.org, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration.

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