You’ve been under a social media rock if you haven’t heard it’s the 30th anniversary of The Goonies, a classic 80s film that has attained cult status among kids of all ages. I’m sure there are Internet fights galore over who’s the ‘best’ Goonie, but I can only tell you my favorite—Data. I love Data because even though his gadgets fail (frequently), he just keeps on inventing. That’s a trait I think engineers and innovators everywhere can relate to!
A fun game to play is to imagine how today’s technology, particularly the Internet of Things, could have transformed the way Data made his gadgets, and boosted their success rate. In other words, if Data were inventing today, what would he invent? How would he invent?
First, let’s look at the big picture
Data’s storage and deployment method was, to be fair, a little bit bulky and unreliable. What if instead of a mess of extender arms and belts and ties, he had a utility belt he could control from a wrist-top wearable? I can see Data hacking into one of the larger fitness wearables and turning it into a control system for his gadgets, which he could connect to the watch with wireless chips using Bluetooth™ to create a near-field network of all the devices. Then selecting and deploying one would be as easy as pulling it around the front of the utility belt and hitting the button on the watch.
Now for some specifics
However Data chooses to control and select his gadgets, you can’t argue that they’re anything less than brilliant. Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites, and how Data could put a new spin on them using today’s technology.
You know what would be an awesome upgrade to an already awesome idea? What if Data found a way to use modern sensors for temperature, humidity and pressure to change the tread of his sneakers so they’d always be just right for the terrain at hand? That way he could squirt out the oil and be sure to keep his own footing.
Chattering Teeth Grappling Gun
Okay, so I have to suspend my disbelief on this one, but it’s still a huge favorite. Let’s play the what-if game here, too. What if instead of a manual deployment, which could always come too late (oh no!), the mechanism had an accelerometer and deployed automatically if it sensed an abrupt change in position? This could have a few down sides, but really, we’re assuming chattering teeth can hold up a pre-teen. I think it could work.
Dual Pop-Out Flashlights
Remember when Data was all excited to bring light to the darkness? Only to have his lights fizzle out after a few seconds? Ouch! Today, he could use low-power microcontrollers and LEDs to get incredibly long battery life for his pop-out flashlights.
The sky is literally the limit for Data when he has modern technology inspired by the IoT at his disposal. And with all the boards and know-how out there on the Internet, he could learn how to design and program in no time!
Special Bonus Round
At the end of the film, Data’s dad tries to use his own invention—a pop-out flash camera. I thought of the perfect ultra-high-tech solution for Data’s dad. What do you think?
So who’s your favorite Goonie? Do you have any ideas of how Data could have used modern technology to help out his friends? Share below!