Binocular Card

Binocular Card

Binocular CardDoc runs to the end of the alley away from Courthouse Square and pulls out a black rectangle.  He holds it up to his face and we see his view which reveals that it’s futuristic binoculars and he’s using them to spy on Marty Jr. as he flips off a woman.

Binocular cards don’t currently exist in the form in which we see them in Back to the Future Part II, but what Doc’s holding could easily be mistaken for an iPhone 4 inside a protective case.  It’s a black rectangle with a silver stripe across the middle with no visible features on the side facing us.

Binocular Card InterfaceWhen we get to see what Doc’s seeing, we see that Doc is looking at a screen which features the stereotypical “binoculars” masking around the edges, a square reticle to indicate the focus subject, some kind of left/right motion indicator at the bottom, distance measurement, an “r” measurement, and an “xyz” measurement.

The focus reticle is quite an accurate prediction.  They are commonplace on smartphones with cameras as well as many video and photo cameras.  The software in the camera will recognize the subject’s face and put a square or some kind of indicator around it.  We have this in 2015 everywhere.

Distance is not usually a measurement seen in most cameras.  It’s plausible based on the fact that the camera must know how far something is in order to focus on it correctly, but the camera only cares to a certain distance and beyond that it considers the focus to be “infinity”.  Marty Jr. is across the street from Doc and would likely be “infinity” in this case…not “5.688” of whatever unit of measurement this binocular card is using.  (It’s not yards or meters.  That would be too close.)  The measurements actually vary from 5.094 to 5.983 while Doc is using the card and follows no logical order.  The special effects department seems to have just used random fluctuations in distance.

It’s not clear what “r” refers to.  The first two numbers range from 35 to 39.  After the decimal point, the middle three letters or numbers appear to change randomly.  Then there’s a slash and two random characters.  Nonsense.

“XYZ” may be some form of GPS coordinates that combines latitude and longitude into one number.  It’s random jibberish with no logical meaning.  It also tends to change a lot considering that Doc isn’t moving much, so maybe it’s not GPS.  If it was, that would be another accurate prediction since most smart phones now have GPS.

They seemed to get a few things right with the binocular card prediction, but overall this not an accurate prediction because binocular cards don’t actually exist.  Yes, you could zoom in on someone using your iPhone and get a focus reticle, but the zoom lens on even the best iPhone, Android phone, or Windows Phone of 2015 isn’t good enough that you’d actually use the phone as binoculars.  Maybe in a few years, but not in 2015.

Prediction Accuracy: Failed