5 Internet of Things Connections in Star Wars
Star Wars – A Long Time Ago?
Since the first instalment of the Star Wars saga hit theatres back in 1977, many fans have had difficulty reconciling the tremendous technological advancements in the films with the opening scroll’s insistence that the story took place “a long time ago.” With the latest movie in the series franchise, The Force Awakens, hitting theatres the holiday season in 2015, the issue is being raised again. Only this time, we’re more aware of automation, thanks to all of the consumer smart devices on the market today.
It’s not a huge stretch to state that the Star Wars universe has its own Internet of Things. Interconnected smart devices and entities are all over the movies, adding to the magic of this galaxy far, far away. Plus, thanks to the tech currently available to the masses, The Force Awakens may also spark IoT interest in average consumers who may not have had much firsthand experience with connectivity and automation.
The Connections Are Strong With These
Exactly which devices and entities in The Force Awakens (and in the Star Wars saga as a whole) show signs of intelligence reminiscent to the IoT we know and love today? Here are five for your consideration.
1. The Force Itself
The Force has been a major part of the saga since the very first Star Wars film came out, but over the course of the seven movies, it’s more and more clear that it’s not just a mystical power — it’s a smart system! In The Phantom Menace, we learn that this is very much the case, when Liam Neeson — sorry, Qui-Gon Jinn — explains midi-chlorians, living organisms that reside within all cells and communicate with the Force.
A bunch of small pieces communicating to create one large system? Sure, it might be the life energy that powers the Star Wars universe, but it’s also highly reminiscent of a self-contained IoT — in a metaphysical sense, of course.
2. The Droids You’re Looking For
Even back in Episode IV, audiences were intrigued by the communication between C-3PO and R2D2. While the concept of the IoT was barely a loosely formed concept back then, C-3PO was perhaps one of the first universal connected components. After all, he claimed to understand over six million forms of communication. (We’re guessing he probably works with Nest by now.)
Nonetheless, old favourite droids plus hot cool ones like The Force Awakens’ BB-8, with its awesome floating head and totally round rolling body, are positioned as robotic jacks of all trades, able to communicate with droids, humans, and systems alike to get the job — any job — done. Smart toy versions of BB-8 are immensely popular this holiday season, and they’re a lot of fun, but it’s too bad that they’re just toys. A true smart droid would probably be a welcome addition to any aspiring smart home owner. (More welcome than an Ewok, anyway.)
3. The Lightsaber of a Jedi Knight
While several countries around the world are embroiled in debates over accessibility to guns, dyed in the wool Star Wars fans know that the weapon of a Jedi Knight — the lightsaber — is the true gentleman’s way to settle an argument, especially an argument with a cloaked and masked villain who just happens to be your long lost father. But we digress.
What makes the lightsaber so smart? It becomes an extension of its owner: the kyber crystals contained within are as tuned into the Force as the Jedi is. While you can make arguments about Jedi knights training with their weapons much like samurai with their swords, there’s still the Force factor very much at play here. Everything’s connected, thanks to the Force. Well, maybe not everything’s connected: arms, hands, and other limbs notoriously get disconnected during lightsaber battles.
4. Better Troopers Through Cloning
If you’re tasked with creating an army from scratch, you’d want the soldiers to be skilled, smart, and most of all, obedient. You’d want a smart army of controllable fighters. In short, you’d want the Grand Army of the Republic.
Cloned from a notoriously skilled bounty hunter, the Clone Troopers all had an inhibitor chip embedded in their brains. This helped with control of the Army, but it also allowed the Sith to carry out Order 66, which destroyed the Jedi Order. Sure, it wasn’t exactly a benevolent use of smart technology, but it was an efficient one.
5. The Death Star – Ultimate Weapon And Smart Home
It houses to the superlaser that destroyed Alderaan, but the Death Star is also a battle station that houses the Imperial Forces, the Imperial Starfleet, endless Stormtroopers, and the technicians and crew that keep things running on a day to day basis. It’s like a small planet, or maybe a moon, though of course, that’s no moon. To keep such a tight ship running, you’d have to have some type of automated connectivity.
While the computer systems may seem rudimentary by today’s standards, make no mistake: they all function together to keep the guard up. Its destruction in A New Hope demonstrates this: a one in a million shot in the right place led to a domino effect of destruction, and the Death Star was obliterated.
You’d Find the Lack of Connectivity Disturbing
It may be a saga that takes place in the distant past, but the technology in the Star Wars movies is as futuristic as that in any sci-fi epic that takes place two hundred years from now. And, once thing that we’ve come to associate with and expect from this type of futuristic tech is connectivity: things need to work together, without human intervention, for a greater purpose.
While there are lots of aspects of Star Wars that contribute to how effective and beloved it is, its inclusion of IoT-like devices makes a lot of the story lines truly fascinating. It’s especially fun to watch the connectivity in The Force Awakens, as smart homes and connected devices are becoming a reality in more and more of our lives. We may not have lightsabers, and thankfully there’s no Death Star with a laser aimed at Earth, but we do have thermostats that talk to our coffee pots and fitness trackers that can unlock our front doors. Automation is the goal, whether you aim to rule the galaxy or just make your life safer and more convenient.