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About the Interocitor Home Page

Interocitor       I'm not entirely certain why, but I've always loved the movie This Island Earth (MCA/Universal, 1954). If you haven't seen it, it's a cheesy science fiction film (based on a much better book) in which the main character, Dr. Cal Meacham, assembles a piece of mysterious electronic equipment (much more advanced than 1950's technology), and as a result, he gets invited to join a group of hand-picked scientists. (For such a brilliant guy, it's odd that he never seems to pick up on the fact that the guy inviting him to join has a foot-high forehead and talks funny.)

      The piece of equipment he assembles is called an Interocitor. (Actually, they used the name for pretty much every piece of alien equipment, and the catalog perused by Meacham and his assistant lists all sorts of uses for Interocitors, including weird ones such as paving roads.)

      When Mystery Science Theater 3000 went to the big screen in 1996, they chose this film to spoof. As one of the interlude bits, Mike and the robots tried to call for help using an Interocitor that Tom Servo just happened to have in his quarters (he was using it as a display rack for his underwear collection).

      (Weird Al Yankovic also has a fondness for the device; his own Interocitor has appeared in his Dare to be Stupid video, as well as in his movie UHF. I'm told that Tori Amos had one onstage during one of her concert tours, as well.)

      I was duly impressed by MST3K's reproduction of the 42-year-old movie prop, and wanted one of my own. Because I had just started playing around with the freeware Persistence of Vision Raytracer (POV-Ray), I decided to "build" mine with virtual materials.

      Unfortunately, since I wasn't yet terribly skilled with POV-Ray, I didn't get very far. Several months later, I decided to try again, and the Interocitor Home Page was the result.

Geeky Technical Info

      The image of the alien on the Interocitor viewscreen is myself, taken with a QuickCam. Using photo-retouching software that came with my scanner, I erased the room behind me, removed my facial hair and turned the rest of my hair white. I then used PhotoMorph to add a few inches of forehead.

      The Interocitor itself, in POV-Ray terms, is a complex CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) object. The main case and triangular shapes are extruded prisms, and the chrome light holders are simple lathe objects; the rest of the Interocitor is composed entirely of boxes, cylinders, spheres, cones and tori, added together or subtracted from each other to produce the final object. Two light sources were added inside the main body.

      The mesh screens at the bottom of the main body were created by using a hexagonal texture pattern on a thin solid box, where one of the hexagons in the pattern is clear and the other two are the same texture as the case.

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