Last month on Movie Gadget Friday we reviewed the rough and rugged modified gadgets of the post-apocalyptic era in The Road Warrior. Shifting from stick shifts to spaceships, this week examines the pre-apocalyptic adventure of a team of astronauts tasked with re-igniting the sun by delivering a massive payload in Sunshine. Based in 2057, this near-futuristic film has heavy influence from 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact. With relatively unexplained artificial gravity, inner-spaceship scooters and gold leaf heat-deflecting spacesuits, many of the gadgets and technology are taken for granted in this 2007 release.
Structured as a small room on board Icarus II, the 3D projection deck serves as a way to boost astronauts' spirits and calculate routes. Translucent walls with embedded light-emitting cells make up the entire cube of a room, allowing for an interactive 3-dimensional experience without the need for external projectors. It's unseen yet as to if this experience requires the use of optical tracking cameras for a gestural user interface. Specific cells have the ability to toggle on or off depending on the specific need of the projection. While this gadget realistically blows away any CAVE we've seen (guesstimating these visuals to be upwards of 100 million pixels), the tactile-keyboard-loving-geek in us is still unrealistically holding out for a touchable hologram to toy with. More after the break.
Tasked with being the main support and operating system for all astronauts on board, the Icarus II OS serves as a massive multichannel control panel. The system has little-to-no artificial intelligence personality (besides a dispassionate female voice), but uses voice interaction as a standard communication protocol. In addition to the many basic operations of the Icarus II system, features included are surveillance systems, oxygen garden control, video recordings to be sent back to Earth via a communications array, and brightness control inside the observation deck to protect astronauts from suffering permanent eye damage when staring into the sun. The Icarus II OS also maintains automatic authority over any manual orders given by the crew in times of emergency.
With a size seemingly comparable to that of an iPod nano, this two-way radio is easily attached to a necklace for ease of use. The device is minimalistic on both design and features, requiring no push-to-talk interaction with the inclusion of VOX (voice operated switch) technology. An LED indicates current usage while the speaker allows for two-way radio communications with the Icarus II OS. We're assuming that this walkie talkie comes equipped with some killer range and (fingers crossed) decent battery life. The gadget is great for on-the-go commands to the spaceship, but little else, similar to the various other portable devices we see throughout the craft.
Ariel Waldman is a social media insights consultant based in San Francisco. Her blog can be found at http://arielwaldman.com.