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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

TRIVIA TIME - I Want An AT-AT For Christmas

TRIVIA!
1. AT-AT

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

The AT-AT is an All Terrain Armoured Transport, more commonly known as an Imperial Walkers in "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980). In the film they make a significant impact during the Battle of Hoth and they represented one of the iconic symbols of the Empire's military might. For that special young Jedi at Christmas time Hasbro has a range of toys that feature the Walker and are in the $(US)40-50 mark. Sadly there are no "big boys" toys available at present though robotics experts at the HRL Laboratories in California have indicated that constructing an AT-AT as a transport vehicle is possible. There are still a number of technological hurdles that need to be cleared, particularly in respect to the stability of the legs and the movements in their joints. The cost however, is likely to be prohibitive at this point and then there is the small matter of the intellectual property rights owned by LucasFilm.


2. The Hat-Copter

Inspector Gadget

The feasibility of a hat-copter, akin to that used by Inspector Gadget, does not exist however, Trek Aerospace have used the device as inspiration behind the design and creation of their Solo Trek XFV (Exo-skeletal Flying Vehicle) Helicopter. Essentially it is a strap on single person helicopter that is powered by a two stroke engine, comes complete with two large turbines, can travel at speeds of 80 miles per hour (100kms/hr) and remain airborne for almost two hours. Initial tests showed that the vehicle "appeared" to work perfectly but issues did arise. The company was not able to maintain the testing schedule and funding has since been removed. There was a model of this unit featured in the Frankie Muniz film "Agent Cody Banks" (2003) but it required special effects to show it in flight. My suggestion, get your partner a hang glider instead.


3. Light Cycle

Tron: Legacy

Parker Brothers Concepts, based in Florida, USA, is an operation run by Marc and Shannon Parker that specializes in building that "dream" vehicle for their clients. In striving to create these vehicles with the "wow" factor they soon attracted a number of high profile clients, which brought with it powerful media exposure. Their version of the Tron Light Cycle is a steel framed unit powered by a Suzuki TL1000 V-Twin engine and it comes complete with an iPad dock. The bad news is that (a) it doesn't fire a laser beam and (b) Parker Brothers only created ten of these cycles and they're priced at approximately $US55,000.


4. Batman Motorcycle Suit

The Dark Knight Rises

If you're buying your partner the Tron Light Cycle then protect them and make them look extra special by fitting them out with the Batman motorcycle suit. In the lead up to "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) UD Replicas produced a moulded leather and Kevlar body suit (as it appears in the movie) with adjustable leather gauntlets and removable body armour. The suit is an officially licensed replica and the pre-sale price list for 2017 will see you dishing out $US1,753 for a jacket, pair of pants, gloves, boots and, to cap it all off, a utility pouch


5. Barney Stinson Suit Pyjamas

How I Met Your Mother

Barney Stinson, portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris, is one of the five central characters in this television programme. He is (initially) a serial womanizer and the character, that most critics agree, that is the glue that keeps the show together. In the 2009 episode "The Front Porch" (season 4, episode 17) Barney shows up at a pyjama party wearing his silk suit and claiming it is his bedroom attire. He argues with Marshall that his suit is superior to Marshall's night shirt because it has the greater potential to attract women. The Legendary Suitjama Store (LSS) has cashed in on this and offers a wide range of this "legend-wait-for-it-dairy" nightwear for sale. For the record, that's not my cheap shot, that is how LSS have promoted it on their site.


6. Wand remote

The "Harry Potter" series

Authorised by Warner Brothers and put together by The Noble Collection this is an ideal gift for the serial couch potato. It has the power to turn the television set on and off, change channels and adjust the volume, all with the flick of the wrist. However, you can shout "accio popcorn" as much as you like, it will let you down in this regard every time.


7. Tricorder

Star Trek

MacGyver may have had his Swiss Army Knife but for me as a kid Dr McCoy's Tricorder, which could detect a myriad of diseases, was far cooler. In 2012 the US company, Qualcomm, also thought that a real life working Tricorder would be a cool thing and to this end they started up the X-Prize Foundation and have offered $10 million dollars to the first team that can produce one. There are conditions to this which include the unit being able to detect fifteen different diseases from a sore throat to colon cancer. Whilst we are not there yet there are units on the market such as Scanadu's device that can check vital signs such as heart and pulse rates, temperature and blood oxygenation. We're getting close folks.


8. Sex Panther Cologne

The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Brian Fantana, played by Paul Rudd, is a co-worker to Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) in the above 2004 film. He is an overconfident and sleazy character who believes that all women will fall for his wiles. To this end he has a range of (for want of a better word) extraordinary colognes, one of which is the now infamous Sex Panther.

Brian Fantana: "No, she gets a special cologne... It's called Sex Panther by Odeon. It's illegal in nine countries... Yep, it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good."

Sadly for Brian others don't find it appalling rather than appealing. Despite this, Romane Fragrances LLC have released their own version of the officially licensed Sex Panther cologne. It comes complete with its own non-growl box, is priced around $US40 but unfortunately it cannot, currently, be shipped outside of the USA. Like the movie version, it too comes with the claim that "60% of the time, it works every time".


9. Talking Car

Knight Rider

During the 1980s every kid dreamed of owning a car like Michael Knight's (David Hasselhoff) KITT. Not only could it talk, it was virtually indestructible, had more gadgets than a "James Bond" movie and it even had its own cash dispenser.
The good news is, that in regard to the talking car aspect, the dream is getting closer to reality. At present we have GPS navigational devices that will tell us how we get to places, some even using your the voices of your favourite characters by which to navigate. I particularly liked the thought of deliberately taking the wrong turn so that Homer Simpson could yell out "DOH!" Nowadays, firms such as Denso Dynamics are taking the talking car technology to the next level. With their V2X system cars can talk to other similarly equipped vehicles and even roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights that will provide your car with valuable safety information, such as, the car in front is stopping suddenly. At present this data is voiceless but the dream is getting closer.


10. Power Laces

Back to the Future: Part II

In 2011 Nike released their "Air Mags" range of shoes that looked just like the ones worn by Marty McFly in the 1989 film. Sadly they were not the real deal as they lacked the eye popping key ingredient, the power laces. That was until 2015 when Nike found a way to install a weight sensor into the heel of the shoes so that the moment the wearer's feet settled on them the laces tightened automatically. Now for the not so good news - only limited quantities of the shoes are produced each year and these are auctioned off to the highest bidders with proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

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