Sonic Screwdriver - Doctor Who
Everyone needs a decent Swiss Army knife, unless, of course, you have a PhD in time travel and own one of these bad boys: a sonic screwdriver. We'd all like a tool that operates through the use of sound-waves, exerting physical force on objects remotely, unlocking almost any door and accessing every computer in the universe. Also, with the ability to perform highly delicate medical scans, the sonic screwdriver is the greatest Christmas gift ever for the hysteric hypercondriac.
First referred to during the 1968 serial Fury from the Deep, the screwdriver played a huge part in rescuing the Doctor from many sticky situations over the years. The device was deemed too helpful though and eventually found itself written out of the original Doctor Who series for "limiting the script". Perhaps writers for the new seasons hit a wall one day though and decided to bring it back, as they've featured the handheld tool in an array of episodes since 2005.
The idea of manipulating objects using ultrasonic sound waves isn't as far-fetched as you may believe. Using low forces of ultrasonic sound, scientists have been able to sort minuscule objects such as biological cells. Professor Drinkwater and his team at Bristol University have created a pair of "sonotweezers", which do exactly that. Drinkwater speculates that increasing the force could potentially get air moving fast enough to undo a screw.
Despite these claims, I wouldn't go adding a sonic screwdriver to your Santa list just yet.
Commercial possibility 30%
More info BBC
Timebooth - Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Nobody, not even the sinister voice of Monty Burns, can lay claim to repeating the word "Excellent" in such memorable fashion. So as production for Bill & Ted 3 gets under way, we reminisce the phonebooth that took them back in time, in the hope it isn't replaced by smartphones in the next flick.
With so many time travel machines out there from Primer's box to Back to the Future's Delorean, choosing one was never going to be easy. Perhaps we should pay homage to HG Wells' Time Machine which lay the foundations back in 1895 for all to follow, however the appearance of a "time sled" in the 1960 film adaption put me off. It was also decided that despite the Tardis clearly being the superior of the two timebooths, we'd save the Doctor for another piece of fantasy kit (see above).
So yes, there's probably a more logical method for time travel than looking up a location in the Yellow Pages and dialling the corresponding number, but a time travelling phonebooth? C'mon, it's too cool and more to the point, super foolproof. After all, two chaps barely bright enough to read a phonebook used it well enough.
The real bogus side to all this is that time travel defies the laws of physics, so it's impossible. Plus George Carlin is no longer with us, so if Rufus appears in B&T3, it could be a CGI mock-up like Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. And that would be most un-bodacious, dude.
Commercial possibility 0%
More info Bill & Ted 3
Next page: Telepathic Lens - The Lensman series
"Perhaps writers for the new seasons hit a wall one day though and decided to bring it back, as they've featured the handheld tool in an array of episodes since 2005."
Call me cynical if you want, but a wand with an LED on the end and makes a high pitched warbling sound is both desirable as a toy (when backed by an entire TV series showing how cool it is) and incredibly cheap to make, which makes for a healthy profit margin.
and it's called the hydrogen bomb.
Having said which, there are some minor wrinkles regarding the range of its effects, the unavoidable millions of fatalities and unfortunately persistent fallout which still have to be ironed out; but I can say with 100% confidence that you will never have to worry about mobile phones or personal stereos ever again.
It's also great for getting stones out of horses hoofs, warding off dangerous dogs, sterilising river water and attracting attention if you are lost in remote areas.
Yes - but
would it like you?
also a Lazy Gun please wouldn't go amiss :-)
I still believe that Douglas Adams' "Somebody Else's Problem" field as a cheaper alternative to the cloaking device is pure genius.
I want one for my car.
Just a simple device will do me...
Something pocket-able that will kill all mobile phone reception at a small distance - like about a maximum of a train carriage away.
If it could also stop those bloody personal stereo noise machines going tishtish life would be so much improved.