Film Theory: Transformers - GOOD Science, BAD Movies!May 29, 2021
Do you know who I sympathize with the most in the Teasformer
movies? People who bought a car that turned out to be a transformer. Imagine you want to go to work, but your car turns into an alien robot and flies away. Okay... So it's twenty-eight thousand dollars for the sharks. Optimus, the least you can do is call an Uber for them. Hello internet, welcome to Film Theory! The show with a Ph.D. in movie details. I don't know what you think, but from time to time I realize that the future is here NOW! Okay, so it may not be the future everyone predicted.
I'm still waiting for the Back to the Future hoverboard, holographic clothing, and a self-drying jacket. But it makes me curious about the other things that are to come. It's actually hard to rule anything out right now. Even the weirdest things we see in the
movies, the Man in Black memory erasers, if the CIA doesn't have them yet, I bet they're into something like that. Willy Wonka's Eternal Magic Balls, YES PLEASE! And the
transformers? Self-aware robots that, on their own, can change shape depending on the situation. That is a big task. Those things are impossible, right? It's okay, but I'm making a video about it.
So... Hmmmm... I hear what you're saying, 'MatPat, you've gone too far! Robotics have made great strides in recent years, but Transformers defy the laws of physics, buttmunch. *an insult to someone with no real meaning according to Urban Dictionary* Well, that's what I'd say, hypothetical critic; words can hurt, even words like "buttmunch." A word that no one has used since they were nine years old! But also that I'm not saying that in five years Optimus Prime will land on Earth and decapitate the Decepticons, I'm saying that the technology we have now makes Transformers more fact than fiction.
Especially when you look at what these automatic giants are made of. Which is a
goodbridge to the question: What are they really made of? Okay, so it turns out that the sources say a lot of different things. The Transformers have four different origin stories. Whether you're talking about the original Marvel comics, the original TV show, the UK version, or the live-action movies, the franchise is exhausting! And don't even get me started on Beast Wars! Man, I love that show! To me, Megatron will always be a cute purple T-rex. So if the conflicting stories weren't enough, they all use words like: 'Quintesson' (sorry no idea) and 'Cube Creationism' Just so you know this is a serious story.
But when you look at what they're made of, all the origin stories basically agree that Transformers are made of metal and actually mechanical. Which means that instead of surviving on food and water, they need the right kind of fuel. So... Thanks, Captain Obvious... Mechanical monsters are made of metal. can you be a little more specific? Well, we get most of our information about the chemistry of the Transformers, on a molecular level, from the movies. More specifically, the movie 'The Age of Extinction'. They even take the time to name the Transformers material: 'Tranfornium' Yeah, SUPER creative there...
If only you had spent as much time building your fictional world as you did exploring the laws of relationships with minors. This is illegal, she is underage! We are protected by the laws of Romeo and Juliet. We have an existing youth registration status two seven zero five - three Romeo and Juliet you say? And with that knowledge... Yes, yes, I know. It's painful to go to a Michael Bay movie. Michael Bay's Transformers movies are unwatchable and offensive, and they take a lot of creative liberties with the Transformers story. "His vocal processors were damaged in the fight." But the fact is, the movies give us the most concrete scientific clues as to what Transformers are made of.
So if we want to see the real world technology behind these things, this is the best route to take. So this
theorywill focus on Tranfornium and from there we'll see how close we are to making our own Optimus Prime. And the fact is, the technology here is really cool, so let's be nice to each other in the name of
science. Well? Well. In the movie 'Age of Extinction', humanity has grown tired of alien robots destroying their cities when they fight each other. Then the government begins an attempt to create their own Transformers. Scientists crack the code needed to work with transfornium and BOOM!
Artificial transformer! So how far am I from making my own bodyguard/camper? Well, let's see what we know about Transfornium Play! that tape A rare earth metal, molecularly unstable, industrially unusable. So, according to Tobias Fünke's evil twin brother, we're talking about a metal that is unstable, rare, and unusable for industrial purposes. We also know a few things about the Transformers themselves. The Transfornium must be quite light, because some of the Transformers can fly, which would not be possible if they were made of lead, for example. They also go in and out of the Earth's atmosphere, so the metal must have a high melting point.
Specifically; Upon entering the atmosphere, objects reach a temperature of 1477 degrees Celsius, or 2691 degrees Fahrenheit for everyone in the
goodold US of A, where independence is dictated by how complicated the measurement system is. So the melting point of whatever material is used needs to be above that. Is there any substance on earth that meets all of these requirements? Well... A quick scan of the usual suspects on the periodic table tells us... no. But then what is this? A group of metals called rare-earth metals, because they are, surprisingly, rare. Man, it seems that chemists are just as bad at naming as the "Age of Extinction" writers.
Maybe I should stop making fun of them? 'Search the house! What do you mean by searching the house? You don't have a warrant for your arrest! My face is my fucking order. - No, absolutely right. Agree, the best analogue for Transfornium would be the lightest of the bunch - scnadium. Atomic number twenty one. It's lightweight, with a density similar to aluminum, so flying as Starscream won't be a problem. And it has a melting point of 1540 degrees Celsius, well above the limit for objects to enter the atmosphere. This prevents Optimus and his friends from messing with Alex Mack, turning into a pool of molten metal every time they pass through the atmosphere.
We don't use scandium in that industry because it's so rare, just like we hear about in the movies, and scandium even looks the same as the transfornium sample we see in Age of Extinction. On a chemical level, if we were to start by making our own Transformers, scandium would certainly be a very good and very accurate candidate. And while that's great, it's a long way from the complete answer. Because the biggest obstacle to transformation is not chemistry, but physics. The problem with making Optimus Prime isn't making something look like the shape of his truck, because that's just a truck.
We want a substance that can automutate into anything, and it turns out that advances in robotics are making Transfornium seem less and less a crazy fantasy and more like an inevitability. In fact, the basic components are already there. For example, we already have machines that can respond to their environment if necessary. These are called 'self-molding modular robots', and they can change shape, walk, and in some cases even fly. Take a look at the M-TRAN3 – an example of a self-conforming modular robot made of attached parts that can change shape and movement as desired. As you can see here, it has formed into a long chain that moves with an undulating motion similar to that of a caterpillar.
But it can also form a grid, grow legs, and even walk! Sure, it's primitive, but let's be real, it already looks better than the walking domino blocks we've seen on 'Interstellar.' In both the real world and the world of Transformers, the robot can modify its appearance to better suit the task at hand. You might think it's slow, nondescript, and looks more like a miniature plastic AT-AT from "Empire Strikes Back" than a transformer, but keep in mind that the M-TRAN3 made its debut at a robotics trade show in 2005. In 2005, the Nintendo Wii and iPhone 1 were things of the future.
More recently we had M-BLOCKS, little blocks that self-assemble with no legs, wheels or other external parts, just blocks that bounce back and forth and self-assemble with nothing more than magnets. But even so, if we were looking for something like transforming, we would need robots that are smaller, faster, and more versatile than these self-adjusting modular robots. As we see in the
film, the tranfornium is programmable, it has memory. Programmable matter may seem beyond our capabilities, but scientists are developing just that; a branch of nanotechnology called claytronics. Think of Claytronics as a cross between robotics and computing. Claytronics uses a system of very small programmable computers called tronicclay atoms or catatoms that interact with each other to create three-dimensional objects that the user can interact with.
So imagine you're Skyping or FaceTiming with someone years from now. At this point, all you'll see is a two-dimensional image of the person you're talking to. But clay tonics would allow the device to scan the other person's entire body, recreate it from catatomata, and create a three-dimensional version of that person right next to you in your room. And then, when the cats are done playing with your friend, they can turn back into a sofa, a table, or a TV, for example. The possibilities are literally endless. Do you remember the cool nanobots from 'Big Hero 6'? Yes.
It's kind of the same. And here's the funny thing: While you'd think that kind of technology would be decades, if not hundreds, of years away, experts think we're pretty close now. A 2014 Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies article states that Intel Labs researchers expect simple Claytronic products for commercial use to be available by 2020. And Carnegie Mellon University researchers are making remarkable progress. They have created electromagnetic catatomes that can self-assemble and self-assemble in a tenth of a second. So give it a few more years and transform-like shape-shifting programmable matter could be right in your own living room!
Or, in this case, in the garage. But then there is one last question; If we can make tranfornium, then the actual Transformers shouldn't be far behind, right? Loyal fans of Film Theory will remember an episode on Terminator's Skynet where we learn that artificial intelligence is expected to progress to the point of self-awareness perhaps as early as 2045. So if we can make shape-shifting robotic computers using claytronics by the year 2020 and real artificial intelligence by 2045, it should only be a matter of time before they become our robot rulers, right? Well, there's still a big problem with building robots that can transform and assemble into more than what you initially see, and that problem isn't with the robots themselves or the artificial intelligence.
In fact, the biggest problem is also the stupidest problem. And yes, I know it's grammatically incorrect, but I did it for effect. I know it's stupider. The problem, believe it or not, is this: Friends indeed. There's one major problem preventing Transformers from existing in the real world, and that's a problem we all encounter in our lives: Batteries aren't included. Yes, from the days of the battery draining Super Scope Six, to your Megatron Transformers walkie talkie radios, to the phrase you say to yourself every day: 'I need to put my phone on the charger', batteries are what you need. stops us. most.
Even as our circuits go to the micro-scale and our computers draw more and more power, we can't say the same about batteries. In the last 60 years, computing power has increased a trillion-fold (no exaggeration, it has literally increased a trillion-fold computing power), but since 2007, your phone's battery life has only improved by 22 %. And the size of the battery is still relatively large compared to the size of the phone. The problem isn't making the Transformers, it's feeding them. There just aren't any completely new power sources for these kinds of super-advanced AI robot hybrids, and it stands between us and the transformer revolution, my friend.
Okay, at least until they become our rulers and start harvesting human electronic potential to power them like in the Matrix. Excuse me what? But hey, that's just a
theory, A MOVIE THEORY! And cut! But seriously, we all know that the human battery from the Matrix is a complete fiction, so there's no need to post that again in the comments. But I know you will anyway. You already have. If you're a fan of movie theories likethis one, you will love the idea of bringing the fictional world to the real world. If so, you need to click here for my Game Lab series, on my Game Theorists channel, where we take the same idea, but do it with video games.
And even if you don't like video games, I can promise you that you will like this one. Do you like fantasy movies? Well, then you should watch the episode where we stormed a castle. For honor! And the action movies? Watch how we defuse a bomb. "I'm opening the box now." Do you like Matrix? Then you'll like the hacker episode. "You get access to a network, and you go further and further from there." 'What?' 'Oh no!' People who do stupid things to animals? Okay, so watch me ride an ostrich. 'You are fast! And it's going completely in the wrong direction...' 'This is crazy!' It's on YoutubeRed, but all the episodes are there now, so if you get a free trial, you can watch them all weekend and then you know... decide what you want to do with your subscription from then on.
I'm not going to tell you what to do; You can cancel. But you might feel overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of YoutubeRed's programming and keep subscribing. I just want you to watch my show. That... that's really all I care about. We've even just been nominated for a Streamy Award for Best Internet Nonfiction Series, which is quite an honor and shows the amount of work that went into it. So if you want to take a look at it, I really do, I would really appreciate it. Just click on the ostrich head to go there. Now, if you'll excuse me, next week we're going to the last frontier (Starwars reference).
See you then.
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