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Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

Sonic screwdriver
Type: Multi-functional sonic device
Created by: The Doctor
Appearances: Full List of Appearances

"Harmless is just the word; that's why I like it. Doesn't kill, doesn't wound, doesn't maim. But I tell you what it does do: it is very good at opening doors."

- The Doctor

The sonic screwdriver is a versatile tool and defensive weapon which the Doctor stated to be grown in peaceful places (IDW: Agent Provocateur) used by the Doctor from his second incarnation onwards.

Contents

Variants

The Doctor's sonic screwdriver

Mark I

Earliest known sonic screwdriver in use

A small, simple device similar to a penlight, first used by the Doctor in his second incarnation. (DW: Fury from the Deep)

Known uses

Mark II

Variation likely created during the Doctor's exile on Earth.

A larger and more elaborately detailed version, the Doctor began using this model in his third incarnation. It had a removable head which The Doctor would change with other heads, each doing a different function. (DW: The Sea Devils).

Known uses

Mark III

The Fourth Doctor remade his sonic screwdriver into a silver version that lacked the inter changeable heads. It was capable of extending its tip.

Mark IV

Chang Lee discovers the sonic screwdriver the Seventh Doctor had at regeneration.

The Seventh Doctor uses a sonic screwdriver like his mark III to lock the Master in a casket. (DW: Doctor Who: The TV Movie) This is used throughout the Eighth Doctor's life and has a torch built in the handle.

The mark IV is most likely Romana's sonic screwdriver that she gave the Doctor in (NA: Lungbarrow)

Mark V

A version known to be used by the ninth and tenth incarnations of the Doctor

In his ninth incarnation the Doctor had a new model with a glowing blue diode at one end. The tenth incarnation of the Doctor also carried this model, until it was burnt out after modifying an x-ray scanner to increase the radiation output. (DW:Smith and Jones)

Known uses

Mark VI

The tenth incarnation had to grow/construct another screwdriver after the X-ray incident. It was very similar to the Mark V, though somewhat larger and silver. It is seen blowing up in the trailer for Series 5, possibly meaning there will be a Mark VII.

Known uses
Sonic created after its predecessor was destroyed at Royal Hope Hospital

Mark ?

The Doctor's future screwdriver, loaned out to River Song (DW: Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead)

In the Doctor's personal future, he would upgrade the screwdriver with, in addition to the Mark V settings, red settings and damper settings. He gave it to River Song, both for her use and because it served as a way to save River's Data Ghost for uploading into the main computer of the Library. (DW: Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead)

The nature of the red or damper settings is not yet clear; however, it is suggested that a red setting is a more powerful setting than the blue one and maybe dampers reduce outside interference with the sonic - similar to a bio damper.
It is not yet known if this device is a modified older version of The Doctor's (current) sonic screwdriver or a newly created (albeit similar looking) device with additional modifications. The set photos indicating that Matt Smith's Doctor will have a new Sonic Screwdriver suggests that the device currently being used on the show will be modified and passed on to River.
Known uses

Related Tools

  • Liz Shaw had her own version of the Doctor's "door handle" device, which she used to open the door to the Doctor's shed. (DW: Inferno)
  • Romana constructed her own sonic screwdriver. Her version so impressed the Doctor that he attempted (unsuccessfully) to swap sonic screwdrivers with her. (DW: The Horns of Nimon) She later gave it to the Doctor. (NA: Lungbarrow)
This resembled a smaller, slimmer version of the Doctor's Mark II.

Many of the sonic devices featured in the show are in fact incorrectly named, as their function is not always reflected accurately by their name. For example, a sonic lipstick should in fact be a device which performs the functions of a lipstick using sonic waves; similarly a sonic pen should be a device which writes using sonic energy. These devices have, however, been named to suit their appearance rather than their function.

Technology and Functions

The sonic screwdriver is apparently the product of Gallifreyan technology since other Time Lords (i.e. Romana) used the device and understood it enough to construct their own versions of it. The name of the device itself suggests that it functions using soundwaves, although the actual workings of the device have never been explained.

A crystal similar to Metebelis Crystal sought after by the Eight Legs of Metebelis III was used in the Mark VI sonic screwdriver. (IDW: The Forgotten)

The screwdriver also seems to have a multitude of settings, along with different versions of settings, as he tells Rose to use "setting 15B" to help him triangulate the source of the ghosts (DW: Army of Ghosts) and it is said to have a setting 85. (DW: The Lazarus Experiment). The Doctor tells Rose to use setting 2428D to re-attach barbed wire, suggesting that the screwdriver (at least the Mark V screwdriver) has at least this many functions (DW: The Doctor Dances)

The different versions of the Doctor's sonic screwdrivers have exhibited different capabilities and uses, such as the interception of signals ranging from transmat beams to conscious thought; medical diagnostics and repair of organic parts; cutting, but also re-attaching together materials such as barbed wire; operating Earth machinery such as computers and even cash machines (at regular and high eject speeds); creating a spark to light a candle; and, on the rare occasion, driving screws without touching them. Although it is primarily a tool, it can also be used as a defensive weapon, such as when the Tenth Doctor put it in a sound board to destroy the Robot Santas. (DW: The Runaway Bride) However, according to the Tenth Doctor, the device cannot be used to wound, maim or kill living things. (DW: Doomsday)   It can still be used to destroy non-living objects or mechanisms or place living creatures in circumstances where they might die, if the situation requires.

Sonic screwdrivers and similar technology cannot unlock a deadlock seal (DW: School Reunion); one of few exceptions is Miss Foster's sonic pen, which was able to open the deadlock seals on and within the Adipose Industries building when the Doctor's sonic screwdriver could not. This suggests that certain sonic devices can be tailored to open certain deadlock seals, much like a key to a certain lock. (DW: Partners in Crime) However, when the Master stole The Doctor's TARDIS, he activated the TARDIS' deadlock seal and the Doctor was unable to open it using the sonic screwdriver. (DW: Utopia) However, this may be due to the fact that the Doctor stole his TARDIS and its deadlock is therefore not susceptible to the Doctor's technology in the same way as Adipose. Some or all versions may be ineffective against wood, or in the presence of some models of hairdryers. (DW: Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, PDA: Catastrophea)

Behind the Scenes

  • The tool was retired during the Fifth Doctor serial DW: The Visitation as it was felt it had become overused. It was absent for the Sixth Doctor era and all of the Seventh, except in DW: Doctor Who: The TV Movie in which the Seventh Doctor was seen to use it to lock the Master's remains away, and the Eighth Doctor recovered it at the end of the film. The tool was reintroduced with the Ninth Doctor and has become the show's most frequently used gadget besides the TARDIS itself.
  • For unexplained reasons, the Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver had a green casing in DW: The Infinite Quest.
  • During early production of Series 1 (2005), the production crew decided to switch from their original prop to one based on the toy Sonic Screwdriver because the first prop was prone to falling appart and so the production team secured molds from the toy replica in order to make a more reliable prop for the next season.
  • Early conceptual art of the modern era Sonic Screwdriver feature a different "tube" section, with notes referring to "glowing organic circuitry", and a movable ball-joint on the emitter, to allow use around corners and in tight spaces. Instead of the "glowing circuitry," the actual prop and toy reproductions feature a black "swivel," like a simple helix. When given a personal copy of the concept art, David Tennant himself commented on the lack of the swivelling emitter.
  • Another early piece of concept art, similar to a simple Bitmap drawing, reveals that the black "cap" at the reverse end of the Sonic Screwdriver was intended to be an opening set of "feet," allowing the Sonic Screwdriver to plug into a section of the TARDIS console. This features was also dropped from the eventual prop model.
  • There are two main versions of the Sonic Screwdriver - one has a slide feature with button, and one which does not slide and has a fixed button. The two prop types varied each episode.

External links


This article uses material from the "Sonic screwdriver" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Memory-beta

Up to date as of February 02, 2010

Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek content.

A sonic screwdriver is a type of technology, an engineer's tool used in the 23rd and 24th centuries. (VAN novel: Harbinger, SCE eBook: Wildfire)

This is evidently a "tip of the hat" to the BBC series Doctor Who, whose title character often made use of a multi-purpose device of the same name.

External link


This article uses material from the "Sonic screwdriver" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

ST Expanded

Up to date as of February 07, 2010

The Star Trek Expanded Universe Database is for fanon and related content. See Memory-Alpha.org for the canon Star Trek wiki.

The Doctor shows off his sonic screwdriver.

A sonic screwdriver was a type of engineering tool used by Starfleet engineers in the late 24th century. (SCE eBook: Wildfire)

The Doctor, an alien being from an alternate reality, also possessed a device known as a sonic screwdriver. Although his device proved to have many more applications, with it being used to do anything from locking doors to decrypting computers and generating sonic waves. (Star Trek: Daedalus)

External links


This article uses material from the "Sonic screwdriver" article on the ST Expanded wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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