But could we ever make one?
It would be impossible to build an actual Predator disk like the one seen in the movie franchise, as it is a fictional piece of technology with capabilities beyond the current state of technology and science. But, we can make a basic shopping list of what would be needed.
- Power source: Like the plasmacaster, it would require a powerful energy source like high-energy power cells. There is currently no similar technology, but a micro-nuclear reactor could work.
- Robust materials: The disk can fly, has advanced weapons and stealth capabilities, and can withstand significant damage.
- Advanced aeronautics: It would need to generate lift and propulsion to fly, as well as advanced control systems to maneuver through the air. Additionally, it would need some advanced stealth technology to evade detection. Drone technology today is the most likely avenue for this kind of technology.
- Advanced targeting: As with the plasmacaster, advanced laser autotargeting, tracking, etc., would need to be developed. Especially to enable the disk to fly unaided (and safely) back to the wielder.
If we were to try to create a flying disk-shaped weapon, it would require significant advances in materials science, propulsion technology, and aerodynamics. Even if all these technologies were available, the cost of creating such a device would be enormous, and the military or any other organization would have to consider the cost-effectiveness of such a project.
In short, building a real Predator disk is currently impossible with current technology and would require significant advances in various fields of science and technology.
However, creating a replica or a similar prop for a film or cosplay would likely involve combining elements from different materials and technologies. This could include a circular saw blade or similar cutting mechanism, a housing for the mechanism made from materials such as plastic or metal, and lights or other special effects to simulate the disk’s ability to change direction in mid-air.
But that wouldn’t be a “real” one.
5. Phasers are closer to becoming a reality but are still beyond us
According to Star Trek lore, phasers are the most prevalent and typical directed energy weapon in the arsenals of Starfleet and a few other powers. However, there is some contradiction in what exactly they are.
For example, in Star Trek: First Contact, TNG’s “The Mind’s Eye,” VOY’s “Time and Again,” and “Demon,” phasers are most often categorized as particle weapons that fire nadion particle beams. However, some phasers, like the Ferengi hand phaser, are classed as plasma weapons that fire forced plasma beams. Phasers can range in size from capital ship armaments to handheld pistols.
Whatever the case, while the idea of a phaser is undoubtedly intriguing, it is currently purely fictional, and no known scientific principle or technology would allow us to build such a device.
- Power source: In real-life physics, a few forms of energy can vaporize objects, such as high-energy lasers, particle beams, and plasma beams. However, these forms of energy have limitations and would not be capable of creating the type of beam seen in science fiction phasers. Additionally, the energy required to vaporize or disintegrate solid objects is exceptionally high, and, likely, we would never develop a power source that could produce such energy levels in a small, portable device.
- Emission: Like other weapons listed above, some form of mechanism would be needed to create and contain the plasma beam if more of a plasma-type of weapon. This is beyond human technology at present.
- Cooling system: Such weapons would likely generate a lot of heat. This would need to be dealt with somehow.
Despite the above, the technology behind particle beams, like laser weapons, is being researched and developed. Called Directed Energy Weapons, they are promising but nowhere near the level of sophistication or power of Star Trek’s phasers.
6. RoboCop’s Auto 9 is an excellent weapon, but not realistic
The Auto 9 is a handgun featured in the 1987 science fiction film “Robocop.”
The weapon, according to lore, is a 50-round magazine select-fire machine handgun that is highly sophisticated. It was holstered in a secret compartment in RoboCop’s thigh, along with at least one magazine for reloads. Although RoboCop had been observed shooting a single bullet numerous times, the most typical fire setting was in a three-round burst mode.
Additionally, the weapon could use specialized ammo, which RoboCop could select via his aiming interface. These include:
- An advanced armor-piercing round that had been demonstrated to pierce titanium armor and kevlar vests.
- High explosive.
- Non-lethal – a bullet intended to disable rather than kill a victim.
- Seeker rounds.
- “Standard” round.
Building a real-life version of the Auto 9 would require significant technological advancement in firearms, likely far beyond our capabilities today.
Advanced materials: The weapon would need to be made of durable materials such as metal and polymer. It would likely need to be assembled using CNC (computer numerical control) machining, 3D printing, and other advanced manufacturing techniques.
Advanced ammunition: Some ammunition types, like “seeker,” would be highly challenging. However, allegedly, DARPA has developed something similar.
While the Auto 9 is a fictional weapon created for the movie and does not actually exist, the prop was designed to look like a heavily modified Beretta 93R with a longer barrel, large magazine, and an integrated suppressor. This was used as a plot device to showcase the advanced technology and firepower of the antagonist and the challenges the protagonist had to face.
While technological advances have allowed for the creation of highly advanced robots and weapons, the Auto 9 depicted in the film has capabilities and features that are currently not possible with current technology.
7. The M41A “Pulse Rifle” is possible, right?
The M41A pulse rifle from the “Alien” franchise is possibly one of the most famous fantasy weapons. It is described as a fully-automatic, air-cooled, box magazine-fed, gas-operated pulse-action weapon that fires 10mm caseless armor-piercing rounds.
According to lore, it also has a smart gun (another iconic weapon from the series) targeting system and an underslung grenade launcher. However, as it is a fictional weapon, it is impossible to explain how it would work in reality.
For this reason, it would likely be challenging, if not impossible, to build a functioning M41A pulse rifle as portrayed in the films. That being said, a few things would need to be developed.
Caseless ammunition: The first thing is the ammunition. The gun’s 10mm caseless armor-piercing round ammunition does not exist in the real world, so it would need to be developed. It is also unclear how the 99-round magazine could fit that much ammunition, given its size.
Advanced targeting: Additionally, the M41A is also described as having a smart-gun targeting system and an underslung grenade launcher, which would require significant technological advancements that do not currently exist. The latter, of course, does exist in some form today.
Advanced materials: To make a functioning Pulse Rifle, would require designing and engineering the weapon and developing suitable materials and technologies to power and control its functions.
Some converted conventional guns (like the video above), airsoft, and nerf replicas of the M41A pulse rifle are available in the market, which you can buy and use. But these replicas don’t fire real bullets; they fire plastic pellets or foam darts. But, we can but dream.