The most important device in the universe? A couple of flashing tubes

A couple of videos that are rapidly going viral on the net show what appears to be “the most important device in the universe“, Or a pair of flashing tubes without any apparent specific function, appeared in countless sci-fi movies and TV shows.

Hollywood’s most reused sci-fi prop? A couple of flashing tubes renamed as The Most Important Device in the Universe!

In reality it is a prop used (and reused, and reused again) in numerous television and film productions; almost certainly to save the various productions engaged in sci-fi projects on the budget.

Curiously though, in no film or series in which the prop has appeared has its real function ever been explained once.

As explained by Major Grin’s YouTube channel, which divided the video into two parts, there were many films and series in which “the most important device in the universe” appeared:

The prop is officially described as “Double generator with rotating neon lights inside an acrylic tube; and light-controlled panel with knobs and buttons “ or, more simply, like “Flashing tubes without a function”.

Here it is “in action”:

The first time we see it is in the Regula laboratory in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan. They are also visible in the Enterprise-A shuttle in Star Trek V

The tubes also appear in a series of Star Trek episodes:

  • TNG: “Datalore”
  • TNG: “Suddenly Human”
  • TNG: “The Quality of Life”
  • VOY: “Retrospect”
  • VOY: “Inside Man”

and can be seen in Soong’s hideout and research station in ENT: “Cold Station 12”.

In short, a true “regular” prop of Star Trek, so much so that it appeared in the form of a cartoon even in the Lower Decks series, now aired on Amazon Prime Video!

The flashing tubes also appear in other popular science fiction series and films, such as:

  • “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” (1979)
  • “V” (the 1983 miniseries),
  • “Otherworld” (1985)
  • “The Last Starfighter” 1984
  • “Knight Rider” “Star Crystal” 1986
  • “The Incredible Hulk Returns” (1988 TV movie),
  • “The Flash: The deadly Nightshade” (1990),
  • “Alien Nation”
  • “Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me”
  • “Airplane II” (with William Shatner, who will meet him again in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier which he directed and starred in).
  • It also appeared in “Lois & Clark” episode 2 × 08 with Denis Crosby.

and, for some reason, it also appears in the 2 × 08 episode of “Lois & Clark” with Denis Crosby.

A star was born?

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