The most iconic movie wearables ever

Check out the best wearable gadgets from the silver screen
The most iconic movie wearables

Happy Back To The Future Day. Actually if we're being pedantic, happy Back To The Future II Day.

That's right, despite rogue Facebook posts over the last couple of years declaring false dawns, we're finally at the date that Marty and Doc crash landed in during the 1989 sequel.

That's why we've rounded up the most iconic wearable gizmos from the silver screen, looking back at the films and TV shows that dared to wonder what the future of tech might be and got it scarily right.

Nike Mags from Back to the Future II

Back to the Future II was the film that touched a generation of gadget lovers. Along with the self-drying jacket that adjusted to your size, the pair of Nikes that laced themselves up when you step into them got everyone's imaginations racing. Nike auctioned off a pair back in 2011 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Fingers crossed that hoverboard is next.

JVC Personal Video Glasses from Back to the Future II

Also in Back to the Future II, Marty Junior is seen wearing a pair of JVC Personal Video Glasses. They let you watch and pause TV, and just like Google Glass, they're voice activated too. They also look uncannily like Sony's HMZ-T3W Head-Mounted Display. That film has a lot to take credit for.

Watch phone from Dick Tracy

How prescient. The private-eye was making calls with his timepiece well before LG and Samsung started making the real thing. Though his only let him make calls – no checking Twitter, sending text messages, or downloading apps for him. What a loser. LG released the Watch Phone back in 2009, but then it all went quiet until the smartwatch boom of the last couple of years.

Proton pack from Ghostbusters

Wearables don't come much more serious than this. The Proton Pack consists of a Neutrino Wand connected to a backpack-sized particle accelerator. It's used to weaken ghosts, and hold them in place while the trap is set to capture them. Just careful not to cross the streams. All together now: Busting makes me feel good!

Utility belt from Batman

Superman might have super powers, but Batman has wearable gadgets. Like the utility belt, for example, which contains everything a caped crusader could need. Batarangs? Check. Grapple gun? Check. Ultrasonic bat beacon? Check. It's been through various incarnations over the years, but for our money, you can't beat the yellow one, as modelled by Adam West. Pow!

Nintendo Power Glove from The Wizard

The Wizard told the story of a boy – Fred Savage – who ran away with his brother to compete in the ultimate video game championship. Along the way, he encountered the Power Glove, a way cool accessory that you wore to control Rad Racer. Okay, so the film may have been one long Nintendo advert (it was used to launch Super Mario Bros 3, which appears at the end as a new game), but that didn't stop it and the Power Glove earning a special place in our heart.

Motion controls from Minority Report

This is another that has basically become real. In Minority Report, Tom Cruise controls a wall-sized computer screen by swiping and making gestures with his hands. (Yes, just like Kinect on the Xbox One.) But to do so, he has to wear special gloves, which you don't have to with Kinect. So maybe Microsoft is a step ahead of fiction. Still, it would be cool having fingertips that light up when you do something.

Suit from Tron

As far as we remember, the suits in Tron didn't actually do anything except light up with LEDs. But that didn't stop them being very cool indeed. So cool, in fact, that NASA is using a very similar design for its spacesuit that astronauts will wear to Mars. When NASA starts copying you, you must be doing something right.

Battle suit from Aliens

NASA hasn't made one of these yet, at least not that it's told anyone about. It's made for loading cargo, with the massive robotic arms and legs mimicking your every move. But Ripley dons it to duff up the Alien queen something rotten. Which makes it just about the meanest piece of wearable tech there is, in our book.

James Bond's watch from Live and Let Die

It was tough to pick just one of Bond's timepieces, but this Rolex takes the cake. It works as a magnet, which is not only great for pilfering M's tea spoons from across the room, it's also handy for unzipping a woman's dress. And it also spins fast enough to cut through rope, which is useful when you're about to be lowered into a tank full of sharks. It also tells the time.

Geordi La Forge's visor from Star Trek

He doesn't just wear it for the look, it's practical, too. La Forge is blind, and the visor gives him a sense of light. It doesn't let him see as well as the visually unimpaired, but it scans the electromagnetic spectrum and creates a visual input, letting La Forge 'see' energy phenomena. Here's hoping it's made real soon.

Glasses from Joe 90

Forget Google Glass, we want a pair of these specs. Not only do they look quite like Wayfarers, they also contain hidden electrodes which allow our hero Joe 90 to become proficient in flying fighter jets and spacecraft, performing neurosurgery, and playing the piano like a master. Match that, Google.

AI earbud from Her

Theodore Twombly's earbud isn't exactly a looker but it's already inspired connected hearables such as the Moto Hint that can link us to AI assistants without the need to bark into a smartwatch or home hub. Throw in a smartphone-style pocket display and camera, wear two shirts at once with high waisted trousers and you're ready to set off on a whimsical adventure around near future LA/Shanghai with only your wearable for company.

Go Go Tomago suit from Big Hero 6

OK it's probably a bit too recent to be iconic and too Disney-fied for snobbish sci-fi fans but Big Hero 6 had some awesome wearables, both cute and killer. What's great for kids is that the dorky female characters get to have just as much fun as the boys with the speed skater Go Go Tomago suit and Honey Lemon's Power Purse full of alchemical balls (rather than the artificial wormholes her character hauls around in the comics).

Scramble suit from A Scanner Darkly

A Philip K. Dick concept, the scramble suit is a thin membrane worn by anyone who wants instant anonymity, narcotics officers, say, in a dystopian near future California that's subject to extremely intrusive surveillance. Millions of different faces, hair types, clothes are projected onto the suit making it impossible to describe or remember anything about the individual.

Communicator badge from Star Trek

The Combadge is worn by 24th century Starfleet personnel for quick communication - tap once to activate, twice to deactivate. It's configured to act as a universal translator, has a range of 500km, can be converted into a subspace distress beacon and looks pretty stylish in its rightful place to the left of the wearer's uniform. No wonder Star Trek fans have crowdfunded Combadge-inspired devices.



  • biteme says:

    surely, those Minority Report gloves are not wearables.... they do nothing away from Cruise's big screen. They are just a drama queen stylus.

  • biteme says:

    No mention of the Star Trek communicator/broche as in TNG/Voyager etc?

    • s.charara says:

      we just updated this story, including an entry for the combadge - better late than never... 

  • mosamjc says:

    It's never been on the big screen, but I've always been partial to Booster Gold's Skeets robot! He's not exactly wearable, but since he's a small drone based artificial intelligence that follows you around and responds to commands, he'd never let you forget him at home on the charger! That's a win-win in my book. 

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