06-03-2016 12:33 PM
I enjoy a lot of science fiction movies and TV series and have made a kind of hobby out of collecting the best names for made-up machines that do amazing things. I mean, what would you call a police box that flies through time and space, or a transportation component that eliminates randomocity in the reintegration of atoms? These are important matters to consider when inventing fictional technology. Other writers greater than me have invented superb devices that bend reality and given them names that are equally mysterious, fun, and thought provoking. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
The Continuum Transfunctioner, from Dude, Where’s My Car? This Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott vehicle (no pun intended) was far better than it should have been, with a silly premise about two ridiculous stoners trying to figure out where they left their car. The sudden left turn in the middle left me dizzy, but turned the movie from preposterous slapstick into a genuine farce. And all of this running madly about was in pursuit of the highly sought after Continuum Transfunctioner, a goofy controller for the destruction of the universe. Truly a crazy adventure.
The Heisenberg Compensators, from Star Trek: The Next Generation. One of the greatest inventions of Star Trek – and the least likely to ever be invented – is the Transporter, a seemingly magical device that disassembles an object (or person) in one location and reassembles it (or her) in another. Invented for ease of storytelling, it is without doubt the most widely accepted technological contrivance of the show, and yet is the least likely to every actually come into actual existence. A key component of the Transporter is the device that eliminates random errors from creeping into the process, the Heisenberg Compensators. Named for Werner Heisenberg, whose Uncertainty Principle…is frankly beyond my ability to explain. Wikipedia is your friend on this one, my friends.
The TARDIS, from Doctor Who. An acronym derived from “Time and Relative Dimensions in Space,” the TARDIS is the space/time machine of the Gallifreyan Time Lord known as the Doctor. In it, the Doctor and his companions travel hither, thither, and yon to far away places in both time and space. From visiting Diamond Cliffs with the first writing in the universe (“Hello, Sweetie”), to the very end of the End of Things, there was no adventure too small for this whimsical device, its cynical pilot, and his companions.
The Flux Capacitor, from Back to the Future. This incredible device, invented by Dr. Emmett Brown and installed in a DeLorean, activated when the vehicle was moving at 88 miles per hour and propelled the car and its occupants to a pre-determined destination in time, either the future or past. Honestly, time travel was never this stylish anywhere else.
The Oscillation Overthruster, from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!. Buckaroo Banzai is one of my favorite films of all time and, included within it is the best-named sci-fi device ever, the Oscillation Overthruster. This gizmo allowed Buckaroo (played by a “was he ever really that young” Peter Weller) to travel in a customized vehicle across the 8th dimension and, eventually, to thwart an invasion by the Red Lectroids from Planet 10. Populated with bizarre characters played by some truly great actors (Clancy Brown, Jeff Goldblum, and John Lithgow to name a few), this film is a campy thrill-a-minute joyride!
There are other great fictional devices that I know I’ve missed. Tell me about them in the comments!
06-03-2016 12:51 PM
The Heisenburg Compensators are not in an infant stage.
We call them 3D printers. Well I guess they are more like the replicators from Star Trek. Fax Machines or anything that can be transmitted digitally.
06-03-2016 12:53 PM
But anyone who is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician would only hope to have these things someday.