Superheroes and secret spies may get all the glory, but it’s really the gadget whizzes behind the scenes that should receive a lion’s share of the credit. These geniuses from pop culture are the masterminds behind the brilliant inventions that help to save the world and defeat the bad guys.
The character Q from the James Bond series of movies is probably the most well-known genius inventor. He saves 007 from peril dozens of times with his innovative use of technology and masterful gadgets. But is Q the most innovative gadget wizard genius? Surely, some acclaim must be given to Shuri from Black Panther and Tony Stark from Iron Man.
Doc Brown from the Back to the Future trilogy has been consumed with time travel his entire life. In 1955, he figured out how to travel in time by using a flux capacitor, a device he powered with plutonium. In 1985, Doc accidentally sends his teenage friend Marty McFly back to 1955 in a time machine he built out of a DeLorean. In the third installment of the trilogy, we go to 1855, where Doc once again builds a time machine, this time out of a steam engine.
In the early 1990s, CBS launched Back to the Future: The Animated Series. The series centers on Doc's different time travel inventions. For example, Doc builds a voice-activated time machine that is able to fold neatly into a suitcae. The machine enables him to travel to different times and locations simultateously. The actual time machine can change to whatever vehicle Doc wants, from a stretch limo to a zeppelin.
Scotty serves as the chief engineer in the Star Trek franchise of films, comics, video games, and television series. No one knows the innerworkings of the USS Enterprise better than the expert technical genius. He is often referred to as a "miracle worker" because he saves the Enterprise from danger countless times with his quick-thinking ingenuity.
Most people are familiar with the popular Trekkie quote, "Beam me up, Scotty." The phrase refers to the oft-used transporter that can transport people and objects instantaneously. Although Scotty did not invent the transporter, he is the chief engineer of the device.
It's true that most of Data's innovative inventions do not actually work. His zipline is unreliable, the glaring light from his bully-blinders goes out after a couple of seconds, and his suction-cup belt pulls him in instead of grabbing the desired object. However, the whiz from The Goonies has plenty more inventions stashed in his oversized coat and backpack.
His slick shoes squirt out just enough oil so that when the Goonies are on the run, they successfully slow down the in-pursuit Fratellis. Data may still be in the trial-and-error stage of inventing, but it's safe to say that when he grows up, he's sure to have a lot of his clever ideas expertly perfected.
Isador "Machete" Cortez is Carmen and Juni's uncle, and Gregorio's and Marissa's formerly estranged brother, in the Spy Kids series of films and books. The rough, but underneath-it-all sweet, Machete uses his gadgets to help save Gregorio and Ingrid from Fegan Flop in the first Spy Kids installment. The whiz gadget inventor comes up with several cool inventions like electroshock gumballs that have the ability, once chewed, to short-circuit any electrical device and to shock enemies.
Machete's greatest invention is his elastic wonder. The rubber-band-looking mechanism has 999 different uses. The only catch is that the user has to figure out all of the various ways to weaponize the elastic.