- "As he [Doc] paced, he caught a picture of himself in the mirror. He was forced to smile. How outrageous he looked with this conglomeration of vacuum tubes, rheostats, gauges, wirings, and antennae on his head. It was, he was inclined to admit, the most stereotypical image of the mad scientist. But no matter. If the device proved practical in the area of mind reading, it wouldn't matter what it looked like."
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 114)
- " Without removing his headgear — it was so much trouble to hook it up — Doc Brown strode to the door and opened it. A young man of perhaps seventeen was there. His appearance caused Brown to almost clap his hands in sheer delight, for he was clad in a shirt that was illustrated with a blowup of a patent office entry. How this appealed to the heart of a frustrated and neglected and much maligned inventor can be easily imagined. / In this happy frame of mind, Doc Brown decided to continue his experiment. He turned the switch on, waited for it to warm up, pointed his finger at the young man, and said "Don't say a word." / The young man obeyed, his mouth closing before he could get his first words out. / "I'm going to tell you your name," Doc Brown said. "Think of your name." "
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 114 and 115)
- "My God. Do you know what this means? It means that this damn thing doesn't work at all!"
When Marty McFly arrived at his house for the first time, Doc disconnected the machine from his dog Copernicus, and tested the machine on him as he arrived on his doorstep. It consisted of a helmet with a metal geodesic framework that held several cylindrical devices pointed at his head, with electrical wires that led from each of these devices to either a small helmet strapped to his dog's head, or to a suction cup that he stuck to Marty's forehead.
His first guess was that Marty had come "from a great distance". This was only partly true; Marty never left Hill Valley, but he did travel a great distance in time. His second guess that Marty was selling subscriptions to The Saturday Evening Post door-to-door. This was a common occupation, but also not entirely correct, as Marty had picked up a newspaper earlier that day to check when he was. His next guess was that Marty was selling peanut brittle — as Howard's daughter, a Girl Scout, was doing for her baseball team in 1985 — for the Boy Scouts, which was incorrect. After noticing that Marty appeared to be wearing a life preserver, Emmett made a wild guess that he was collecting donations for the Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary. He did not know that only a short time beforehand, when Lorraine's mother guessed that he was a sailor, Marty answered that he was a member of the Coast Guard. If this wasn't an amazing coincidence, then this device may have been Emmett's first invention that actually worked.
When Doc discovered the brain-wave analyzer didn't work at all, he placed it on the desk and started examining it until Marty persuaded him to leave it alone and focus on the time machine.
A week later, while Doc was reading the letter his 1985 counterpart had sent from 1885 via several generations of Western Union, Marty tried on the brain-wave analyzer helmet as he looked at the inventions in the lab.
Back to the Future: The Ride
At some later date, Doc Brown and his team at the Institute of Future Technology successfully demonstrated a much smaller version of the brain-wave analyzer that was used to read one's own thoughts and display them on a LED screen. The device worked by harnessing electro-magnetic impulses created by synapse-disponses from both the cerebral-malbestare. Mind waves were transmitted at a mind obitting rate into the circuitry, thus translating thoughts into written form-in other words, reading your mind. Apparently Doc had some initial doubts that his newer version of the brain-wave analyzer would work, as the message on the display was that of Doc pleading to the device to "Work, baby, work!"
Behind the scenes
- According to the novelization, when Doc discovered the brain-wave analyzer didn't work at all, he threw it to the floor in anger:
- " "What are you selling?" Doc asked. "That's how all sales pitches start." / [Marty replied] "I'm not selling anything. Listen: I'm from the future. I came here in a time machine you invented — and now I need you to help me get back." / "Back to where?" / "Nineteen eighty-five." / "Incredible," Doc Brown breathed. "My God, do you know what this means?" / He paused dramatically, then began to remove the complicated contraption from his head. / "What does it mean?" / "It means this damned thing doesn't work at all!" he yelled, throwing the machine to the floor. It broke into several pieces, glass and plastic flying everywhere. "Six months labor for nothing! Where did I go wrong?" "
- — (quote, page 116)
- Back to the Future
- Back to the Future novelization
- Back to the Future: The Story
- Back to the Future Part III
- Back to the Future: The Ride
- Back to the Future: The Animated Series
- Back to the Future: The Card Game (Background of Time Car v4)
- Back to the Future: The Game
- Back to the Future novelization (regarding name of invention)