Analog control panels in film

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Apparently analog means “anything that’s not touch screen” now.


How are most of these displays “analog”? e.g. the BTTF display of date and time is not analog at all.


The article refers to these as being from the “analog era”. I guess because they’ve heard people talk about this being the “digital age”. They clearly just mean “look at what people used to think control panels would look like. How were they that stupid? Ha Ha!”

We’ve time traveled back to June 3!


Kind of funny that a post about “analog control panels” should go with the photo lede of a digital display. You guys do know what “digital” means, right?

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I’m glad Hitchhikers got a mention but it was for the movie. Take a look at the BBC series for some seriously cool analog graphics standing in for digital. The animation goes and excellent job of looking computer generated and I still think it’s excellent design.

I think they are referring to the fact that these displays have no digital components to them at all. Even the digits on the BTTF clock are just LEDs with a simple analog controller. The X-Wing for example is good old fashioned hand drawn animation.

edit to add: digit<>digital

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…which historians in the far future might catalog under “Pre Light Emitting Diode Euphoric!”

This is actually a rather timely thing for me to see; I am currently prototyping some significant UI additions to our existing software that are stylistically influenced by the ST:TNG design language, but under the hood are based (very loosely) on the how I imagine the wall-mounted displays in McCoy’s sick bay might have worked.


They could have at least shown panels with knobs if they wanted to claim analog.


I doubt very much that there were no digital components in the BTTF clock. There had to be ICs involved, which are very much digital. I agree with others that say that this article is misusing “analog” to just mean “old”.

I like the examples given and think the premise for the article is brilliant, but would kindly beg to differ-- most of those examples were in fact digital computer displays, because in the 1980s, the it was understood widely that the future looked digital. (Don’t get me started about bad digital car dashboard read-outs and indicators.)

Analog would be non-computer-logic-type readouts, e.g.: gauges, not digits, and other fixed-function displays, excepting a few specialty subtypes, like flipbook readouts. Think electric steampunk, or a 1950s reactor control panel, and you’re closer than most of these examples to ‘analog panel.’


Think electric steampunk, or a 1950s reactor control panel, and you’re closer than most of these examples to ‘analog panel.’

that control panel is a better… analog.

Of course, 30-40 years from now any movie that doesn’t envision a computer having a direct neural interface with humans will seem quaint.

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That… seems surreal.