Which sci-fi props have the most leds, sounds, or moving parts?

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sswift

Active Member
Hey guys,

I'm trying to come up with a list of props with the most sophisticated electronics for a little project of mine. I'm looking for those which animate lots of leds, have moving parts controlled by servos, and play sounds.

Here's a short list of props I've come up with so far:

Ghostbusters - Proton Pack, PKE Meter, Giga Meter, Trap
Slider's Timers
Predator Bomb Timer Gauntlet
Fifth Element ZF-1 Gun
Delorean Time Circuits
Star Trek props (too many to list)
Star Wars props (again, too many to list)
Iron Man suit (not a lot of leds, but it's got a few servo controlled parts.)
Portal 2 - Wheatley, other Personality Spheres, Turrets, Portal Gun w/ GladOs

So can anyone add anything to this list?

As you can see from my inclusion of Portal 2, props from video games are allowed as well. I'm not strictly interested in what actually exists, but rather, what could be built.
 
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Edwardowan

Sr Member
R2-D2 builds are pretty elaborate. The front and rear logic LEDs and other dome lights I think account for about 240 LED's alone not including if you include a Lifeform scanner and Periscope eye that extend out of the top of his dome... you can servo just about every panel and door on his body and dome... then you have his two blue utility arms you can activate with servos. Some add the computer interface probe, zapper, cutting wheels etc that come out of his body... Some are 2-3-2 capable which is going from 2 legged mode to three legged mode and back again which is very difficult to achieve and requires a lot of engineering and gadgets to get to work... scooter motors, lifters, motor controllers, drive trains, batteries, voltage regulators, fuses, power distributors, RC receiver and transmitter... So many use Arduino's to run lights and even as a controller translator... wiring out the wazoo, I don't recall how many Artoo sounds there are but I have an mp3 on mine that runs for almost 20 minutes with probably every sound he made and you can make your own using the R2D2 sound generator so I guess that mean limitless sounds... And I read some builders have counted up about 1400 parts not including nuts and bolts, glue and paint! so...the list goes on... :lol
 

sswift

Active Member
I'm not just looking for the single most complex prop out there. I'm looking to create a list of those which have lots of blinky lights and/or moving parts. That's why I just listed "Star Wars props". The list would be full of props from Star Wars if I listed every one which applies. :)

But it's interesting to know that people are using Arduinos to control R2. I would have thought there was a controller board specifically designed for him out there.
 

Edwardowan

Sr Member
But it's interesting to know that people are using Arduinos to control R2. I would have thought there was a controller board specifically designed for him out there.
well, there is and its called the J.E.D.I. Controller ( Joystick Enhanced Device Input ) that is designed specifically for R2 functions but you can use any controller as its just a big RC shaped like Artoo! :lol All you are really doing is controlling wheel movement and a dome rotation and poping a few servos to open panels so any RC TX/RX controller package can work with the usual motor controllers. VEX PIC Microcontroller is popular with the 75mHz crowd as is the Cheap Control System Cheap Control Systems but many prefer digital 2.4 Ghz RC TX now but are more expensive but VEX radios can suffer from interference on their frequencies...

so anyway sorry, I thought you meant specific projects within those realms you listed. I think that list is kind of general and vague really... STar Trek movies have lots of blinkies and lit panels but not much function... The Star WArs Universe encompasses so much more as far as robots, weapons, ships, computer interfaces etc that it seems like Star WArs would take the cake on any other film as far as the most sounds, lights etc. CAn;'t think of much in the Alien franchise... Battle Star Galactica didn't even have as much as Star Wars.... Maybe The Matrix series of films comes close or could rival Star WARs... that's all I can think of top of me head!
 

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Fizbin

Well-Known Member
What... no love for Dr. Theopolis?

Also, no one has mentioned the Time Machine remake from 2002 yet... no blinkys, but a heck of a lot of moving parts on that thing.
 

sswift

Active Member
STar Trek movies have lots of blinkies and lit panels but not much function
The props I'm looking for don't have to have servos. I've seen some tricorders with a ton of leds. That would fit the bill.
 

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micdavis

Master Member
The WOPR computer from War Games has a nice array of blinking lights that are ominously planning the end of mankind by nuclear war.

Those closeups of the computer always creeped me out like that. I knew what it was thinking.
 

NormanF

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Any computer from 50's, 60's, and maybe 70's tv showd and movies. Maybe a vacuum volumn tape drive, those big refrigerator sized boxes with large reels of tape.
 

propmaster2000

Sr Member
I think NormanF kind of summed it up:

<snip>Any computer from 50's, 60's, and maybe 70's tv showd and movies. Maybe a vacuum volumn tape drive, those big refrigerator sized boxes with large reels of tape. <snap>

I have found in my experience the last 10 years, HERO practical Sci-Fi props are becoming fewer and fewer. Most of the "blinky, animatronic" props now are done by computer graphics (CGI) and no longer cost effective to build "real time". Props which are built currently (with all the bells and whistles), don't get much camera time and no longer "pay for themselves" on set. The scene they may be shown in only lasts a fraction of a second now a days, no time to focus on it, not worth the cost to build.
The early years of prop making was the best for LEDS and movement (sound usually is not in a working HERO prop, it's added later).

.
 
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Hfuy

Active Member
For sheer blinkenlight count, let's not overlook the Jurassic Park control room. This is fairly well known, but they had the front panels (not the entire computers) from Connection Machines CM-2 systems:



That's going to be hard to beat, but I suppose it's not really strictly a prop, it's a real piece of technology - although actually, it's largely window dressing. These were supplied by CM themselves from the UK. The fact that the front panels worked without the computers attached reveals exactly how much they actually do - except when a CM-2 is booting up, when some status information is displayed, these massed arrays of red LEDs are purely decorative. People used to program them to play Conway's game of life.

A CM-2 would not be a terribly unreasonable piece of technology for an early-90s genetics lab to own, I suppose, although there's more obvious candidates. Also, why is it in the control room, the majority of whose machines appear to run Irix (because they were SGIs)?
 

sswift

Active Member
I think NormanF kind of summed it up:

<snip>Any computer from 50's, 60's, and maybe 70's tv showd and movies. Maybe a vacuum volumn tape drive, those big refrigerator sized boxes with large reels of tape. <snap>

I have found in my experience the last 10 years, HERO practical Sci-Fi props are becoming fewer and fewer. Most of the "blinky, animatronic" props now are done by computer graphics (CGI) and no longer cost effective to build "real time". Props which are built currently (with all the bells and whistles), don't get much camera time and no longer "pay for themselves" on set. The scene they may be shown in only lasts a fraction of a second now a days, no time to focus on it, not worth the cost to build.
The early years of prop making was the best for LEDS and movement (sound usually is not in a working HERO prop, it's added later).

That's a shame. But what I'm looking for here are ideas for props to build. If it's CG but it's something that can be built and which a fan might want to own, like the Iron Man suit, then it's fair game. That's why I said video game props and weapons were allowed.

And these Bat computers and things are neat, but I'm looking for stuff a bit smaller and more practical to own. :)
 

Davlin

Well-Known Member
The "movies" Proton Packs are actually pretty simples. The " 2009 videogame " Proton Pack, otherwise, is a Hell of blinking, moving stuff.
WOPR : Good call ! The LEDs creeped me out as well.
Weathley : Anyone who could make electronics for Weathley at a decent price would be rich quite quickly, I think.

You can add " Quantum Leap " handheld link to the list, it was colored blocks put together with lots of little leds, if memory serves. The " Soul Cube " from Doom 3 is also a good mix between moving parts and lighting effects. :)
 

sswift

Active Member
The proton packs from the movie aren't all that simple... There's the blue powercell with 15 leds, the 4 red cyclotron lights, and in the thrower there's the orange bargraph with 15 leds and at least 7 other leds on it, making for a grand total of 41 leds.
 

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