Spot the Gadgets in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

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In honor of Star Wars Month, I volunteered to painstakingly watch all six Star Wars movies and compile a list of gadget-like devices I spot in each one. I can promise you I will miss a few and I won’t know what some of them are supposed to be called, but I’ll be damned if I don’t watch all six episodes of one of the greatest film franchises of all time in the name of “work.”

And so we dance.

12:41 – NFWUBA


An acronym for the “No F’in Way Underwater Breathing Apparatus,” the NFWUBA is roughly the size of a harmonica and somehow allows Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to swim underwater for impossibly long periods of time without surfacing for air. I’m hoping NFWUBA will catch on, but it… won’t.

25:44 – GPS. Wait, IPS.


A mere “global” positioning system would be pretty worthless inside a spacecraft capable of interstellar flight, so it stands to reason they’d call this thing an intergalactic positioning system. That’s why it’s so big, too. It’s got to hold all those maps and AAA-approved waypoints.

28:47 – Magic Puck, Magic Pen


I have no idea what the little puck in Obi-Wan’s left hand is supposed to do or what the pen-like doohickey in his right hand is for, but he says “the hyper drive generator is gone” while holding both objects. The pen thing probably makes sounds like Bill Cosby’s pen from Picture Pages as Obi-Wan wands it over certain areas of the generator, relaying data to the puck.

32:21 – Watto’s Point of Sale Tablet


Handheld and tablet-sized, the mobile POS terminal looks to have a six-inch screen and wireless connectivity. Apple later capitalized on this same idea for its Apple Stores. “Would you like a copy of the receipt e-mailed to you?”

34:04 – Nextel-style Direct Connect Communicator


Assuming a society advanced enough to have mastered space travel wouldn’t carry around more communications devices than necessary, it’s likely that Qui-Gon uses some sort of direct-connect Nextel phone.

42:56 – Pico Projector


“Hey, look at my ship. Hey, here’s a picture of my kids. Hey, look, 3D in my pocket. Hey, why isn’t this just built into my phone? Now my pockets are full.” See 1:39:21 for an example of a properly converged pico projector. It’s the first time we witness R2D2’s video capabilities, but it won’t be the last.

48:43 – Midi-chlorian Tester


Take a quick blood test with a penny-sized device, plug it into your cell phone, and shoot the data off for analysis. It’s relatively affordable provided you’ve hit your insurance deductible.

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