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Lost News – The Plausibility of those Fancy Satellite Phones

By ErasedSlate,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 10

For you technology hounds, ‘Live Science’ has an article about the plausibility of the satellite phones on ‘Lost.’  For those who want to explore the technicalities of how satellite phones work in relationship to the show, click the article link below.

Live Science: Satellite Phones on TV’s ‘Lost’ Can’t Be Real

From TVFrenzy:

  • All they really said was that there were no satellite phones with touch screens. Oh my God, plothole!

  • ErasedSlate

    Based on what we think we know about the island, it is a fun exercise figuring out how it all works. Especially when… “Low-earth-orbit handsets work whenever there is a satellite overhead, which should be most of the time. Geostationary systems work when there is a clear line-of-sight to the satellite overhead.”

    Given the trajectory problem that was emphasized in the last episode, a satellite would have to be stationary at the correct angle to see and communicate with the island. Yes, the simple answer is, “it’s fiction.” I am just trying to play in their sandbox with their rules.

  • DocArzt

    I think those phones are not normal sat phones. It seems like they shouldn’t be able to work if they were, because of the properties of the island. But another thought comes from when Miles insinuated that messing with the phone could be dangerous…

  • Delosworld

    Uggh, I’m not even convinced there’s a freighter unti I see it!

  • themachine

    i think the phone may be special, but not a major plot turner, but it is still an interesting article. good find Erasedslate. I was in the Marine Corps for 8 yrs as a Comm bubba, and I knw some things about sat phones. For one, i used one everyday for a year in the Nas, back in 2003, and they do have a bulky antenna, but that is neither here nor there, as this is a tv show. But being that the tv show is LOST, maybe it is so advanced, being it is in the future bc of the islands discrepancy with time? i havent seen a sat phone since, so i dont know, but I still enjoyed the article.

  • sk8rpro


    You worked in the Marines for 8 years? Wow, that’s one of the numbers!

  • themachine

    @ sk8rpro:

    hahaha yup, and i totally have never even thought of that haha i cant believe how obsessed i am with LOST and never put that together.. very creepy!!! hahahha

  • dave

    One thing I noticed in the article… the phones didn’t actually track each other. I believe the explanation was that the beacons the freighter folks wore emitted a signal back to the ship, and the ship sent the BEACON’s location to the phones. So no outgoing “locator” signals came from the beacons. It was a data download from the ship that let the display show people’s locations. Maybe that makes it more “possible” 🙂

  • Greg

    The phones are very plausible, especially in 2007/2008. I have a similar touchscreen device in my pocket right now, and Garmin’s been making a line of location-tracking two-way radios for years, that work by transmitting your GPS coord’s (just a string of numbers) with your audio, and plotting it on your buddies’ maps.

    I think it’s more telling that the producers chose to highlight such an iPhone-like interface (even down to the colors and design, very publicly recognizable) on a phone that’s supposedly from circa 2004. They could have more easily shown us a standard physical interface (keypad, etc.) and a standard display. I think it’s a hint that the phones don’t come from 2004.

  • Delosworld

    “It was a data download from the ship that let the display show people’s locations. Maybe that makes it more “possible” :)”

    But Dave, the freighter couldn’t even detect when the sounding rocket arrived at the island! It wouldn’t be too hard to make a mechanism in each phone that could track the distance to another phone by sending out pulses and measuring the delay for repeated signals to be returned from other phones. But determining the heading, or direction of the other phone is a much larger problem. With three phones you might be able to triangulate and get the positions of all phones relative to each other.