6 gadgets of the future from Doraemon

doraemon takecopter.jpg

The Japanese are much more diverse than we usually get credit for, but if there’s one thing that 99.9% of us do have in common, it is our love for Doraemon. The robotic cat from the future made its debut manga appearance in a magazine for fourth graders in January 1970. In the first installment, he appears out of the desk drawer belonging to a boy named Nobita and tells him that he will be strangled in 30 minutes and roasted in a fire in 40 minutes. Of course, it all comes true. Nobita then finds out that Doraemon has come to the present (i.e. the 70s), along with Nobita’s future grandson, to help make his life &mdash destined to be full of misery, mishaps, and disaster &mdash just a little bit easier to handle. Doraemon’s kind, endearing, and forward-thinking qualities led him to become Japan’s first official Anime Ambassador to the world last March.

Manga artist duo Fujiko Fujio &mdash creator of Doraemon and many other manga classics from Japan &mdash also invented many of the greatest gadget prototypes known to man, some of which actually exist today. Here are a few from the first decade of the series (1970-1980):

1. Takecopter (January 1970)

The most frequently used gadget in the Doraemon series is a suctioned bamboo propeller that attaches to any part of the body and instantly scoops you up into the air. Navigable by shifting body weight or maybe just by thinking about where to go.

doraemon voodoo camera.jpg

2. Voodoo Camera (October 1970)

Take a photo of someone, and this point-and-shoot will make a miniature voodoo doll of that person. This was a great episode &mdash not knowing its powers, Nobita takes photos of Doraemon taking a nap and of his parents, and then gives them to Shizuka-chan, who gives them to the little girl next door who is best friends with a girl who likes to torture dolls…

doraemon mic.jpg

3. Effect-Amplifying Mic (June 1975)

Nobita gets praised by the teacher at school, but when he tries to tell his parents and friends about it, nobody seems to care. That’s why Doraemon hands him the mic that makes everything spoken into it sound like the most moving speech ever made by humankind. This scene shows Nobita blushing from embarrassment when he accidentally farts into the mic after he forgot he left it in his back pocket.

doraemon missile.jpg

4. Guided missile (May 1976)

To stop the cat that ate Shizuka-chan’s pet canary from terrorizing the ‘hood once and for all, Doraemon brings out the Guided Missile, a more annoying-than-deadly weapon that will follow the designated target around until its batteries run out.

doraemon dream tv.jpg

5. Dream Reader (August 1977)

When Nobita has trouble falling asleep one night, Doraemon loans him the Dream TV, which lets him watch what other people are dreaming about. Neuroscientists are actually working towards making dream reading a reality &mdash some think it could happen within 5-10 years.

doraemon 3d printer.jpg

6. 3D Printer (April 1980)

Called the Mecha Maker, this contraption makes life-sized models of whatever you draw in an instant. It has four basic parts &mdash a slit to put a paper diagram in, a tube for the materials (in Nobita’s case, old plastic figurine kits), a compressor, and an exit hole that the completed item spits out of.

Images via 45 Opening Works of Doraemon published by Shogakukan

About Lisa Katayama

I'm a contributing editor here at Boing Boing. I also have a blog (TokyoMango), a book (Urawaza), and I freelance for Wired, Make, the NY Times Magazine, PRI's Studio360, etc. I'm @tokyomango on Twitter.
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24 Responses to 6 gadgets of the future from Doraemon

  1. Wei Keat says:

    It’ll be really great if TELEPORTATION becomes a reality.
    Hope someone’ll be able to make a breakthrough. =)

  2. Alexei says:

    How about “Small Light” or, the ever awesome “TAIMU MASHIN!”

  3. tuckels says:

    I had a friend from thailand who kept going on about Doraemon. It always confused me.

  4. NadiaEdward says:

    i’ve always like the i-wish-telephone-booth. That’s gadget kick ass! what can you wish for nowadays? some world peace maybe, end global warming, or maybe made Carrie PreJean Miss USA! LOL

  5. Jyuuzawa Jyuu says:

    Iwant “Ten Commandments Lithograph”.
    I lay up ten rule lithograph.
    Those who violate the law will be struck by lightning.

  6. grimc says:

    Awesome. I think my favorite was the little band that would follow you around and play appropriate background music–heroic tunes when facing down bullies, for example.

  7. dhonryan says:

    I really love this! I’m a Doraemon fan! If you have time, please visit my site at http://dhonryan.multiply.com

    My Doraemon collections are posted there. Thanks and have a great day.

    –dhonryan

  8. kevin says:

    i like this anime…it’s my Never Bored Favourite anime….hope more movies out to come….
    btw, i like the “3D Printer”

  9. iszuan says:

    hahahha.. i like it.. but u forgot magic door..
    the real future gadget… hihihi…

  10. joared says:

    Enjoyed this introduction to Japanese Anime. Very funny! Quite a pleasant contrast with Chinese Anime to which I’ve been exposed and is so filled with the unfamiliar to me historic lore I am unable to fully appreciate much of it.

    Found you from a link at Pureland Mountain.

  11. nnguyen says:

    Man this is nostalgic. I remember reading these when I was still in Vietnam (in Vietnamese, of course!) and the comics were the first thing I packed when we were set to immigrate to U.S.

  12. webmonkees says:

    Reminds me a bit of L. Frank Baum’s (Wizard of Oz)
    The Master Key

    Considering the story had variations on
    antigravity, closed-circuit tv, electromagnetic shielding and tasers, pretty darn advanced for 1901.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oh, memory bread was one of my favorite, especially during exam time.

  14. A MON says:

    You like the door that can travel anyway in the world.

  15. alexpeterson says:

    This is a crazy awesome way to read really fast. I never knew this was…. humanely possible :P . Thanks for sharing. This stuff really does work. I can’t read it as fast as you can probably, but i’m learning.

    doctorate degree business AND computer school

  16. alexpeterson says:

    Smashing work..Coming from a fellow student, this will certainly help me move up the ranks
    distance learning degree

  17. alexpeterson says:

    Cut out the screen and replace it with a long roll of paper. Then rig a scroll wheel where the Next Page button resides. That would be sweet.
    Civil engineering degree AND Doctorate Psychology

  18. Anonymous says:

    While I was learning Japanese, we had reading assignments to test for comprehension. Doraemon was actually the subject of one of the readings, and I learned all about the memory bread and dokodemo door. It was so interesting that I had to check out the manga.

  19. lailai says:

    I can remember nearly all of the comics… aww I have no life :P

  20. Im still waiting for someone to develop a way for us to fly, like an electrical backpack you strap on the grants you flying capabilities.
    -Jakc

  21. malaysian_fan says:

    i love doraemon, infact i’ll spend my pocket money just to buy those books when i was in primary school.. nostlagia..

  22. gokuson says:

    where’s the magic door?

  23. Alex Martin says:

    The doko-demo door had to be the best Doraemon gadget ever. Simply stick it to any surface, open and go wherever you please. Almost like the doors in The Matrix, only without all that annoying keymaster business.

    But I think one of my favorites for sheer goofiness has to be the memory bread… a simple loaf of bread… you write whatever you want to remember (Nobita’s math homework, in one case) on a slice and eat it and voila, you know it.

    Until you poop it out, that is! Poor Nobita shouldn’t have had that sukiyaki the night before his big test after eating a whole loaf of math-infused memory bread.

  24. bag0rice says:

    Always thinking back to my Doraemon comic days back in Thailand. Some gadgets that came back to me are:

    Finger gun

    Memory Bread

    The button that made everyone disappear

    The tree shape pin that make people ok with whatever you are doing

    oh and the mini jets that when you step in, you shrunk to the size of the jet and fly around.

    I <3 Doremon

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