If you’re a tech geek, the first thing you do when you watch a new sci-fi movie is pick out the gadgets you wish you owned. And while many of the gadgets that grace the silver screen simply don’t exist, you can get fairly close with a few technologies that exist in the real world. We picked out a handful of our favorite tech-centric sci-fi movies and paired them with the gadget every fan should own.
Inception | Oculus Rift
When Inception first came out, virtual reality was on the radar and in development, but there weren’t many tangible consumer-facing technologies. The movie follows Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he conducts corporate espionage using an experimental military technology that allows him to enter dreams and the subconsciouses of other people. Oculus Rift may not be that advanced, but it’s about as close as you’re going to get.
War Games | Mobile Strike
“Shall we play a game?” This 1983 classic stars Matthew Broderick as a young teen who accidentally initiates a global thermonuclear war, all under the impression that he is playing a computer game. There are a handful of War Games simulators online, but Mobile Strike is one of the most advanced. Build an army and attempt total world domination — just keep your fingers crossed that you aren’t accidentally tapped into a United States government computer while you’re playing.
Eagle Eye | Canary
Imagine having a giant super computer that specializes in surveillance watching your every move and then turning against you, framing you and forcing you to outrun the FBI. That’s the premise of the 2008 film Eagle Eye. While it got less-than-shining endorsement from critics (26 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), it’s still worth a watch for tech geeks. Like Eagle Eye, Canary watches everything — but on a much smaller scale. The home security camera connects to your home wireless network and will alert you to any movements in your home via a smartphone app.
Tron | Revolights
When the original Tron came out in 1982, it had a pretty radical aesthetic for its time. If you’re unfamiliar with the storyline, it follows Kevin Flynn, a software engineer who is transported into a computer and held hostage playing a game. One of the more famous scenes features the light cycle, a motorcycle that leaves a deadly trail in its wake — similar to the game Snake. You probably won’t own a light cycle any time soon (though some mock-ups do exist.) To get the sensation of riding a light cycle, with a dose of practicality, try Revolights.
Her | Amazon Alexa
If you think swiping through Tinder is bad, try falling in love with an artificial intelligence system. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a loner with a broken heart who writes greeting cards for a living. When he updates his computer to a new artificial intelligence system, a neofuturistic romance ensues. Amazon’s Alexa is about as close as you’re going to get to the Samantha system that you see in the film, but on the plus side, you’re also a lot less likely to fall in untenable love.
Star Trek Nemesis | Formlabs Form 2
The Replicator in Star Trek: Nemesis is about as cool as tech movies gadgets get. Replicators work by “rearranging subatomic particles, which are abundant everywhere in the universe, to form molecules and arrange those molecules to form the object.” We aren’t on that level just yet, but 3D printers should provide you with plenty of experimentation until we are. The Formlabs Form 2 is incredibly simple to use, and yet it’s one of the most advanced desktop 3D printers on the market. It won’t print you a martini, but it will make a damn nice-looking case for your smartphone.