Analysis: How Realistic are Sci-Fi Gadgets?

Everyone knows about sci-fi. Now more popular than ever, sci-fi is everywhere. Whether it’s a new movie, video game, or comic book; you’re bound to be familiar with something sci-fi-related. One of the things that stands out in this genre is all of the technology and gadgets. Ranging from Spider-Man’s web-shooters to Fallout’s Power Armor; all of these gadgets come with their cool features and their realism of them is often up for debate. Regardless of how realistic or out of this world a sci-fi gadget can be, they’re all pretty cool. Let’s discuss some gadgets and break down their traits and see how realistic they can be. 

Captain America’s Shield

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This is more of a multi-purpose weapon than a gadget.  Vibranium seems to be a magic, multi-purpose fictitious metal in the Marvel Comics Universe; which is what the shield is made of. Captain America’s shield is never obeying the laws of physics, even the characters in this respective universe can’t even explain the science behind it. An example of this would be the fact that whenever Captain America throws the shield it always comes back like a boomerang regardless of where it was thrown. So, when a fictional metal is what makes up the physics-defying shield; realism has been tossed out the window. Even if the shield isn’t very realistic, it doesn’t make it any less cool. That’s the beauty of sci-fi, things that make no sense make sense because of the world it is in. One person, who goes by JLaservideo, created a real-life Captain America shield that bounces and comes back. Due to the fact it’s made of carbon fiber and fiberglass instead of a kind of metal, however, it’s hard to say how realistic his creation actually is to the comic book counterpart.

Grappling Hook or Grapple Gun

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There are so many variations to grappling hooks in fictional media. Batman, for example, has a grappling hook in every adaptation of his character. From the movies, the ‘90s cartoons on TV, to the heavily praised Arkham Video Game Series by Rocksteady, Batman always has a utility belt and one of those tools is his grapple gun. It makes for a very convenient travel device and possible weapon in the Caped Crusader’s world. The only problem is, how can it carry so much weight, retract, or know when to come out of the wall? How does it defy the laws of physics when the operator is a normal, non-superpowered human? The beauty of the answer to all of those questions is that it doesn’t matter. It’s a sci-fi world where a man can carry the sun and another guy can run back in time, the physics laws for grappling hooks are the last thing that should be discussed in terms of realism. Many craftsmen and inventors have made various versions of grappling hooks, but due to the fact it is a grapple gun or usually made up with a winch, it has one use before you have to detach and reconfigure the whole thing. The idea of a grappling hook works on paper but it is still yet to be mastered and created into a fully functioning tool that works for more than one use. 

The Lightsaber

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On top of being one of the most iconic sci-fi weapons of all time, its influence on pop culture is extremely significant. Many people have tried to create their own version of it, but none of them come anywhere close to a lightsaber’s actual power. There is only one real-life variation of this weapon that was even remotely close and it was a YouTube channel called “Hacksmith Industries”. Their lightsaber was a 4000-degree plasma torch hooked up to a propane tank backpack that presented as close to a lightsaber as anybody else’s has. It was Alex Lab, however, that created a retractable lightsaber that was so effective that it gained them a Guinness World Record. The actual plausibility of a lightsaber is always up for debate, but out of any sci-fi gadgets, this one feels like it could be possible in some way. Shown by the fact a YouTube channel almost made a fully functioning lightsaber, there’s a very likely possibility of this beloved sci-fi weapon becoming a reality one day.  

Science Fiction is constantly changing and adapting over time, and with it so will the gadgets and the characters and the potential realism in all of it. Regardless of how plausible a fictional gadget, tool, or weapon may be, it is still in the realm of possibility as long as there are creative individuals out there. The endless debates about different comic book heroes and their powers, a video game and its goofy physics or a movie and it’s all over the place continuity; sci-fi is meant to be unrealistic but finding some way to make it all feel real is the best part of it all.

Categories: Technology

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