Black Panther the movie is being hailed for a number of reasons, but the stuff that excites us most here at Gadgetsboy is the technology.
Powered by a mysterious extraterrestrial metal called Vibranium, the hidden African nation of Wakanda has the most technologically advanced society on (Marvel) Earth. Here we’ve picked out five technological leaps that are revealed in the Black Panther movie that could change life as we know it.
WARNING: This piece may contain mild spoilers about the Black Panther film.
Black Panther Technology: Kimoyo beads
Serving a couple of different purposes, Kimoyo beads are primarily Wakanda’s version of a mobile phone. They allow the wearer to be located and contacted anywhere in the world, but they can also be used to wirelessly control Wakandan technology. Each bead in a bracelet can serve a different function. For example, one may contain personal data and banking information, one is your phone, one can be used as a covert text messenger through sign language, one controls your tech remotely, another – the Prime bead, which is given to a Wakandan at birth – can be used to track health and to treat and stabilise wounds for example.
When calling someone via Kimoyo beads, a small holograph of the caller is projected from the beads, creating a virtual talking head version of Facetime or Skype. The beads can also be used to playback and record visual and audio feeds, beaming them to other displays or creating their own.
With mobile phones in real world Earth hitting a bit of a plateau in the past couple of years, this would be an exciting direction for mobile tech to take.
Prediction: Phone’s will become a wearable as we see in Black Panther and cease to be actual handheld devices within the next 15 years.
Black Panther Technology: Magnetic Wave transportation
Despite possessing abundant natural resources, Wakanda does not use fossil fuels, instead opting for cleaner, eco-friendly alternative energy sources, including solar, geo-thermal, wind and magnetic. Spearheaded by Princess Shuri, the Wakandan Kingdom has managed to create efficient magnetic wave transportation. The tech is used to power their aircraft, as well as public transportation and the country’s Vibranium mining efforts. We’ve seen similar technology efforts made IRL, with Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept and MAGLEV (magnetic levitation), but we’re still a long way from making this technology a viable alternative to electric and combustion-based transportation.
Black Panther Technology: Automated medical treatment bed
This is nothing new in the cinema world, we’ve seen some great examples of computers repairing organic damage and performing complex surgery in films such as the Alien franchise and Star Trek. But the portrayal of this particular type of future-tech is especially brilliant in Black Panther. The surfaces of a Wakandan medical bay react to the proximity of the patient, when they lay down for example, their vitals are displayed instantly around them. When they move the display and surface adapts.
The tech is similar to the inFORM table concept that MIT showed off a few years ago. Microsoft have also shown off similar concepts for smart surfaces. We have also begun seeing robotic surgery concepts, with surgeons already deploying remote cameras and arms when performing critically intricate procedures. So with all of those things heading in the right direction, we know this style of automated and versatile treatment beds are not too far off.
Black Panther Technology: Vibranium Suits
Black Panther’s suit doesn’t just look badass, it is. Designed by Shuri, T’Challa’s suit is made from threaded Vibranium, a material known for its unique energy-absorbing abilities. Shuri, being the brilliant mind that she is, managed to work out how to store that kinetic energy inside the suit, allowing T’Challa to use that stored energy to perform super-powered movements and launch devastating attacks.
There are some excellent examples of how effective this tech could be throughout the film, with Black Panther absorbing kicks, punches and gun shots
Black Panther Technology: Remote drive vehicles
Wakandan’s possess some fascinating technology, some of which we talked about in this article, but one of the coolest things is their ability to remote drive any of their vehicle by simply throwing a magnetic transceiver onto it. Once connected, a 3D holographic projection of the vehicle and its controls are projected into the room for the remote pilot or driver to jump into. This incredible tech allows users to drive and pilot Wakandan vehicles no matter where they are in the world.
We especially loved the scene where Okoye, Nakia and T’Challa are in pursuit of Klaue in South Korea. T’Challa is left behind as the ladies lead the pursuit, so Shuri – back in Wakanda – jumps into the remote driving module and controls a car for T’Challa to ride the roof of until he can catch up. It’s one of the most frenetic and exciting car/chase sequences in action-movie history.