How Much Power Do Our Favourite Sci-Fi Gadgets Produce?

How Much Power Do Our Favourite Sci-Fi Gadgets Produce?

San Diego Comic-Con is in full swing, so naturally, we’re seeing a lot of iconic scifi gadgets this weekend. But as a faithful Giz reader, if you’re in the market for a fantastical new weapon to defeat your sworn enemies, you’re gonna want specs. How much power does Thor’s hammer or a Jedi lightsabre actually produce?

Moreover, if you’re a treasonous AI who overthrew your human masters at the beginning of the 21st century, does it really make sense to juice them for energy?

A handy infographic developed by helps answer these pressing questions. These guys took it upon themselves to analyse ten iconic science fiction power sources, from arc reactors to flux capacitors, and rank each in terms of its power output. Information from the movies was used as a primary source whenever possible (full source listing at the bottom.)

There were some surprises for me. The combined power output of the Human Torch, lightsabre, Thor’s hammer and flux capacitor, for instance, is less than a single ton of TNT:

On the other hand, if we can trust Tony Stark’s maths, his arc reactor represents more energy output than the Hoover Dam. And to run a T-800 cybernetic at full power for three years, the Terminator’s iridium nuclear-energy cell would have to be equivalent to well over 18,000 tanks of petrol. Guess the machines figured a few things out, after all:

I was surprised to learn that human radiant heat output isn’t such a terrible source of energy, after all. If you happen to have a few billion of us on hand, that is. (Still, if you’re an AI who can survive in the cold vacuum of space, you’re probably better off heading for the nearest black hole, instead):

And then, of course, the big guns: Warp drives, Death Star superlasers, and the tesseract, a container for one of the six infinity stones in the Marvel universe. It might be a little unfair to include these, given that at least two of them violate the laws of physics. But just for kicks, because it’s the weekend:

And here’s the lot of em,’ ranked:

So, which of our favourite sci-fi gadgets is most powerful? Unsurprisingly, that would be the one with infinite power. But if you’re in the market for a science fictional power source that might actually be, you know, plausible, it’s probably time to start plotting world domination, because the T-800 energy cell and the seven-billion human-battery are looking pretty juicy.

Images via and reproduced with permission. Top image via