The eponymous 1960s-70s television series Mission: Impossible began with secret agent Jim Phelps receiving instructions on a self-destructing reel to reel tape recorder. At the end of the instructions, smoke would rise from the tape, the top secret instructions would combust, and the episode would begin. Originally, the producers created the tapes with a costly air-sensitive chemical. Soon into the first few episodes of the series, they determined the method too pricey and thereafter fed smoke into the tape recorder to create the illusion instead.
Home for the Holidays: Watching Ghost Protocol + Its Tech
Since its early beginnings, Mission:Impossible‘s technological fanfare has gotten far more advanced, costly, and imaginative. From temperature-sensitive control rooms and epoxy chewing gum explosives in Mission: Impossible I (1996) to Tom Cruise injecting a biometric chip into Thandie Newton’s foot in Mission: Impossible II (2000) to nostril-penetrating brain explosives in Mission: Impossible III (2006)…Here to sear victory on spy-enhancing technology once again is Ghost Protocol, Tom’s biceps, and the ever tenacious Impossible Missions Force.
In the latest MI iteration and this weekend’s holiday box office sweeper Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol gives a nod to the original CBS series with a combustible telephone (for all those loyal viewers still kicking) and for the rest of us techies, spends our last American dollars well: by serving up shot after shot of “super-high-tech” password codes readers and oh-so-practical window-cutting lasers. Here goes…
The non-spoiler countdown of Mission Impossible 4’s best tech gadgets
1. The electromagnetic gloves
Tom Cruise wears them in an epic scene while scaling the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest skyscraper.) We have been dreaming about this sort of spidey action ever since we decided against walking up stairs. And maybe it’s closer than we think. Former Delta Force commander and author of “The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander” Peter Blaber claims the magnetic gloves are a reality. “I don’t know the composition of the Dubai skyscraper,” he tells the Washington Post, “but the gloves are pretty effective when used on steel buildings, even allowing you to climb upside down.”…We’re curious.
2. The facial-recognition contact lenses
These lenses allow a strapping IMF agent to nab a bagman in a (thanks to them) graphically-annotated train scene right before he’s prematurely killed off by Léa Seydoux (whose attacks you might not remember from her recent Prada Canda campaign). In our lives, these contacts would help us remember your name as well as all your company members’ names, plus maybe where we met… The possibilities are endless.
3. Jeremy Renner’s magnetic chain mail levitation suit
In MI 4, it allows the “analyst” Renner to hover inches above a super intimidating cooling fan. In our lives, it would provide for all sorts of near-interactions with electromagnets. (Hovering over a coffin during a wake….creepy or fun? ) As far back as the 1930s, researchers like (Berlin-born) Walther Meissner have been studying related phenomena like superconductor levitation. While it still may take awhile to adapt this MI marvel to humans, car and train options may be lifting us up pretty soon. One German company is already on it.
4. The contact lens that prints whatever you’re looking at if you blink twice
As long as we had someone stocking our ink cartridges, this would be really useful. Even better, if it could text us a pdf…Who prints stuff out (other than the FBI and the IMF ) anymore? I mean, really…
5. The holograph-ish screen that follows your eyes
Imagine projecting an illusion of yourself minding your own business based on facial recognition sensors so that no matter where the guard (or babysitter) was sitting, everything would look like you’re minding your own business. In MI 4, the projection lets a mustachioed Tom Cruise trick a dozen Russian guards in the inner quarters of the Kremlin. It could at least help you trick your boss into taking a longer lunch break.. Or maybe make your apartment look bigger (Need a big furniture idea, anyone?) Mirrors have been slacking on that function for at least a century.