previous page: 4. What are replicants? (Blade Runner)
page up: Blade Runner FAQ
next page: 5. Blade Runner: Behind the Scenes

5. Who/what is ? (Blade Runner)


This article is from the Blade Runner FAQ, by Murray Chapmanmuzzle@cs.uq.oz.au with numerous contributions by others.

5. Who/what is ? (Blade Runner)

"BLADE RUNNER" GLOSSARY (from the 1982 Presskit)

BLADE RUNNER -- The nickname given to those police detectives who are
specially trained in the use of the Voight-Kampff machine and whose specific
function is to track down and eliminate any replicants that manage to escape
into human society and attempt to pass as real human beings. The official
name of the Blade Runner division is Rep-Detect.

REPLICANT -- A genetically engineered creature composed entirely of organic
substance. Animal replicants (animoids) were developed first for use as pets
and beasts of burden after most real animals became extinct. Later, humanoid
replicants were created for military purposes and for the exploration and
colonization of space. The Tyrell Corp. recently introduced the Nexus 6, the
supreme replicant -- much stronger and faster than, and virtually
indistinguishable from, real human beings. Earth law forbids replicants on
the planet, except in the huge industrial complex where they are created.
The law does not consider replicants human and therefore accords them no
rights nor protection.

ESPER -- A high-density computer with a very powerful three- dimensional
resolution capacity and a cryogenic cooling system. The police cars and
Deckard's apartment contain small models which can be channeled into the
large one at police headquarters. This big apparatus is a well-worn, retro-
fitted part of the furniture. Among many functions, the Esper can analyze
and enlarge photos, enabling investigators to search a room without being

[The January 1995 issue of NASA Tech Briefs includes a description of an
Esper-like machine called Omniview.]

VOIGHT-KAMPFF MACHINE -- A very advanced form of lie detector that measures
contractions of the iris muscle and the presence of invisible airborne
particles emitted from the body. The bellows were designed for the latter
function and give the machine the menacing air of a sinister insect. The VK
is used primarily by blade runners to determine if a suspect is truly human
by measuring the degree of his empathic response through carefully worded
questions and statements.

SPINNER -- The generic term for all flying cars in use around the year 2020.
Only specially authorized people and police are licensed to operate these
remarkable vehicles, which are capable of street driving, vertical lift-off,
hovering and high-speed cruising. The Spinner is powered by three engines --
conventional internal combustion, jet and anti-gravity.

[Syd Mead explained in subsequent articles that the concept was actually one
of internal lift like that used in vertical take-off aircraft today--NOT
anti-gravity, ed.]


Continue to:

previous page: 4. What are replicants? (Blade Runner)
page up: Blade Runner FAQ
next page: 5. Blade Runner: Behind the Scenes