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Do you have any idea what this little black box is on Nedry's desk? I think it's a computer peripheral, but I can't identify what it is. It opens with a glazed part on top. In another part of the film, it is open and it looks like it can accommodate some kind of tape or something.

Little grey box image 1

Little grey box image 2

Little grey box image 3

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User TokyoSpark on therpf claims to have worked for a production design company called frogdesign in the 1990s. Spielberg had a serendipitous meeting with the head of frogdesign on a plane journey and liked the item so much that he put it into the movie.

The studio was already working with Motorola on the technical design for the film, so the item, a prototype model of the Motorola Envoy, was in keeping with the general aesthetic.

It's the design mock up from the final presentation to Motorola for the iRadio (name later changed to Envoy). It was designed by me when I was working at frogdesign in California. The head of frogdesign, Hartmut Esslinger met Spielberg on a plane and showed him this mockup. Steven asked if it could be used as a prop in the film, and Hartmut gave it to him. There were three configurations proposed, and this one was the one that Motorola had chosen to pursue. It was a design and engineering proof of concept for the hinge and folding mechanism. It doesn't have the external antenna as the original engineering spec had an internal loop antenna around the screen. Motorola discovered that a flat orientation limited reception, so the external one was added. The two slots were originally for PC cards, but this was later eliminated due to space restrictions.

enter image description here

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    Nedry had an iPad! Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 0:59
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    @PaulD.Waite - He's a time traveler! Burn him!
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 7:33
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    I was the lead EE on that project at the time. :-) Commented Dec 27, 2022 at 17:43
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    I was at Motorola (Schaumburg, IL) at the time, and we were told only that it had been arranged that the mockup would be in the movie. It was described more to us as a deliberate (and paid) product placement, but the story probably went through a dozen retellings before it got to me. Easy to miss it if you blink twice...it's one of several items on a desk in a [camera] pan of Nedry's office, apparently intended to demonstrate how unorganized and cluttered it was. Commented Dec 27, 2022 at 17:53
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    It's of note that the product was in production for around 2 or 3 weeks before it was canceled, but I had left the group a couple of months earlier and heard several conflicting stories about the reasons for its sudden demise. Personally, I suspect that initial limited deployment put a significant strain on the radio system we were using, which had originally been designed for sporadic 56-byte packets. The most popular explanation at the time was political maneuvering. Commented Dec 27, 2022 at 17:54

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