Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Commentaries on this Media!

Universal translator prototype

by Critical Commons Manager

The problem of how to depict human computer interfaces had not yet been solved in Hollywood of 1956 when Earth vs. the Flying Saucers was made. When Vannevar Bush's Differential Analyzer was cast in the role of a universal translator for intercepted alien voice transmissions, the machine used a plotter to write out the translations in cursive English. As it appears in several other science fiction films of this era, the Differential Analyzer was sufficiently complex-looking to represent various futuristic technologies that did not yet exist in the public imagination.

Differential Analyzer cameo in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers

GE's Differential Analyzer plays the part of a universal translator capable of converting alien transmissions into cursive written English

from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
Creator: Fred F. Sears
Posted by Critical Commons Manager