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Comm Links

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Can you hear me now?

"Battles so action-packed you won’t even ask yourself how are they all talking to each other without ear pieces."

Lovely little ultra-portable pieces of Applied Phlebotinum that keep the cast in constant communication across vast distances, usually without any sort of lag or static, excepting outside interference. How they work is rarely explained — they just do. They are standard equipment for any starship or superhero team. Frequently, they can patch into any other communication network with ease. They usually don't have any visible means of selecting who to talk to, but somehow this is never a problem.

Sometimes cell-phone-like (and indeed, in works set in the present, cell phones usually fill this role), sometimes small enough to be worn on the shirt or in the ear. In older fiction, they were originally inspired by the walkie-talkie, or handheld radio transceiver, which (although a rather different thing) was itself the predecessor to the modern cell phone in many ways.

Basically, just a plot device to ensure members of the cast can stay in touch over long distances. If these distances are astronomically long and communication remains instantaneous, you've got a Subspace Ansible.

The good twin of Reinventing the Telephone.

Compare: Video Phone.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z has scouters, shown not only to measure a person's power level, but also acting as a communicator. In fact, it's this lesser-known function that leads to a major story arc, when the Big Bad overhears the heroes talking about the MacGuffin and tries to beat them to obtaining the Dragonballs on Namek.
  • In an episode of Trigun, Vash has access to a pair of these, despite radio being Lost Technology.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Seto Kaiba has that thing on his collar he's always talking to.
  • In Code Geass, Knightmare Frames could communicate with each other, and some sort of earpieces were in use (mostly by the Britannians). Also, cell phones were commonly used for sensitive communications, but with visible hardware modifications for encryption purposes.
  • The Devices of Lyrical Nanoha have communication capabilities that allow its users to keep in contact even across dimensions. They also have text messaging capabilities (with less pushing of little buttons since the AI can recognize speech) and can send transmissions to ordinary earth Cell Phones.
  • The calculator-esque and later wrist communicators in Sailor Moon. One wonders just what kind of infrastructure makes them work.
  • Bleach: This two-way system keeps shinigami in contact with communications division (a unit of the 12th division) while on missions, allowing shinigami and Seireitei to remain in contact even though the shinigami is in the human world and Seireitei is in the spirit world. There have been two styles shown to date. A radio-headset style which is carried in the uniform rather than clipped to an ear, as used by Rangiku and Yumichika, and a phone style, as used by Rukia.
  • In Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (and its American version, Battle of the Planets), G-Force has wrist band communications devices which also allow them to change between their team uniforms and civilian clothing. Gatchaman Crowds changed this so that the Transformation Trinket is a notebook (called a Note) that the Gatchamen can write into to communicate with one another.
  • One of the built-in features of Border's trion bodies in World Trigger is comm link, which works like telepathy. It comes in handy for mid-battle tactical planning and coordination by the teams.
  • The Underworld of The Morose Mononokean lacks modern technology, but voice links can be created using a pair of cute tadpole youkai. This is treated like a phone call, to the point where the link can have signal issues, and one can even forget to hang up the tadpole line, allowing for eavesdropping.

    Comic Books 
  • Some versions of X-Men have communicators in the X's on their costumes.
  • Green Lantern: The Green Lantern Corps can use their rings to communicate with each other.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes has several variants, most notably the omnicom, which is essentially an iPhone on steroids and which was introduced decades before cellular phones were developed. Various incarnations of the Legion have also incorporated hyperspace communications into their flight rings, and "telepathic earplugs" which serve as a combination comlink and Translator Microbes.
  • The members of The Authority communicate by using Nanomachines to send each other messages through the Carrier.
  • The Avengers' Identicard is essentially a smartphone the size and shape of a credit card, which also serves as Avengers ID. When in use, the image of the person you're talking to replaces your ID photo.
  • The 1980s British Starblazer has the Wrist Vis-Phone. With some engineering creativity, it can create a nerve-torturing blast of sonic vibrations.
  • Batman has a communicator built into his cowl with a high gain antenna installed in one of the ears.
  • Transmetropolitan has 'phone trait', a pill full of nanomachines that grow a cellphone and antenna in your skull.
  • Richie Rich at one time gave his girlfriend Gloria Glad transistorized earrings so that they could communicate with each other while she was on a camping trip with her father.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992), the first Maiden hands over the Comfork, a crystal tuning fork. Later, the Comfork begins to ring and Link sees an image of his friends back in Kakariko. At first, Sahasrahla disregards Link's voice as having been his imagination, the others eventually realize that the Comfork allows them to speak with Link even though they are on opposite worlds.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dick Tracy had a radio wristwatch in an era when real radios still had vacuum tubes., later upgraded to a two-way wrist TV, and later still upgraded to a two-way wrist computer including additional functions like forensic scanners and a Lie Detector function.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Harry Potter fic Make a Wish, a mad scientist friend of Harry's came up with miniature Floo systems that worked mostly for communication-only purposes and could be handily enclosed in a Zippo lighter.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Flutterspy, Fleur de Lis has Fluttershy wear a comm link that's disguised as a pendant.
  • The Guardians' communicators in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. Since they get trashed a lot, they send a “communicator destroyed” signal whenever this happens, though it doesn't always bring someone running.
    • The four get Comm Links from the Circle and the Focus at different times but never do use either, and both get either abandoned or destroyed.
  • In Rocketship Voyager, the Technology Marches On aspect of the Star Trek communicator is handwaved as spacers preferring the 'bare bones' model: a voice-only unit with the strength to transmit a signal to an orbiting rocketship, without the Awesome, but Impractical Video Phone and other gadgets used by civilians on Earth. They also have chin switch-activated radios in their Fishbowl Helmets.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Used in the climactic battle in Avatar, despite the main location being incredibly bad for all other electronics.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Each of the main characters in The Avengers (2012) seem to have in-ear communicators that we never see. This includes Thor, who met up with the group separately, and Cap, who at one point gestures to his clearly empty ear.
    • Taken even further in Avengers: Endgame, with dozens of recently resurrected heroes somehow all equipped with comms devices patched into the same frequency. It's fairly justified with some characters who had previously been on the main team (though they have been dead for five years at this point), but others like Valkyrie, who was never on an Avengers team and had no need for a communicator, still make use of them with no explanation.
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: Buckaroo and Rawhide have small communicators that can transmit across New Jersey.
  • The Mission: Impossible Film Series has camera-radios built into eyeglasses.
  • Star Wars has comlinks. Lando Calrissian has a "wrist radio" version in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • They Live!: The aliens use wrist radios to communicate with each other. They can also be used to make short-range teleports.
  • Forbidden Planet: Commander Adams and the other officers have a command mike attached to their belts, with a small camera that they can pan around to confirm they're not speaking under duress (when the camera pans across the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter, a loud Wolf Whistle ensues). There's also a detachable handset used for communication on the ship.
  • Elysium: Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt has a communication unit attached to her wrist that has been made by Bvlgari (or will be in The Future).

  • In Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy, Adamists (baseline or near-baseline humans) communicate with neural nanonics, brain-interfacing nanotech that allows a form of technological telepathy. This form of communication carries the usual technical limitations (network availability, interference and the speed of light). Edenists (genetically modified telepathic humans) use their "affinity gene" which allows real, instantaneous telepathy. At one point an interface device is used to allow an Adamist ship to make use of the Edenist affinity capability.
  • In David Drake's Hammer's Slammers world, each soldier is fitted out with a tiny communicator that's implanted in the jawbone. It's activated by clenching the teeth and can even pick up subvocal speech. Handy things. The company also has a private set of communication and spy satellites that they bounce radio and laser transmissions (using far less portable units) off of when units are on different continents.
  • The Axis of Time trilogy by John Birmingham has portable net-enabled laptops from 20 Minutes into the Future transported back to World War II, where they function much like a wrist radio or Star Trek communicator. Notable in that, thanks to no satellites floating in orbit, the connections are often crappy, but work, thanks to a side feature of bouncing communications off the atmosphere... or something like that. While the initial trilogy avoids any brand names, the follow up novellas explicitly state that the most popular ones are future iPads, while the cheaper versions run on Android.
  • Uglies has skintennas that work like cell-phones but are built in to your body and only have a 1km range.
  • In a Star Trek Expanded Universe novel, Mackenzie Calhoun is given, among other things, a newly-developed communicator that can send and receive messages over enormous distances by piggybacking on any carrier wave. Mac first tests it by accident when he jokingly says "Mackenzie to Jellico" and hears Admiral Jellico on the other end a second later, even though Jellico is on another planet.
  • In Michael Crichton's Timeline, a comm link was created that could fit in one's ear (it was described as looking like a hearing aid). It could also translate spoken languages into the wearer's ear. Both the distance and the amount of languages aren't specified, but the book emphasized that its batteries have a shelf-life of 36 hours.
  • E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lens combines instantaneous communication, translation, code-breaking and identification functions. The latter is very, very specific - a particular Lens is matched uniquely to an individual wearer's mind, and attempting to wear or even handle one that isn't yours is instantly lethal (it disintegrates upon death to avoid being a permanent menace).
  • In The Leonard Regime, characters use "radios" to keep in touch without any explanation of how they are being used.
  • Spanreeds from The Stormlight Archive are a Magitek version. Essentially, a spanreed set consists of two writing reeds which, when the attached fabrials are active, become perfectly synchronized, such that as you move one, you also move the other. Combined with a board containing paper and inkwell in standardized location, you can write out a passage on your end and have the reed copy it out on the other. One of the single most useful fabrials in the story, and a key to a few of the plot points.
  • In The Authorities, the eponymous team maintains constant communication, when in the field, even with those members of the team who remain in their HQ. This is done via a custom-made smartphone (running an enhanced version of Android) paired with earpieces, which are molded to an individual's ear. The phone bill must be ridiculous, but the team is well-funded by a billionaire, who spares no expense. The comms are also necessary, since one member of the team is unable to communicate normally and uses sophisticated technology in her helmet to pick up on her mouth movements and generate speech via the network.
  • In the Left Behind book Kingdom Come, citizens of the Millennial Kingdom (mostly naturals) had cell phone implants that allowed them to communicate with each other over long distances.
  • One of the older examples is the Phonophor in the german Science Fiction Novel Heliopolis, which is a communications and tracking device and also works as a futuristic rankpin. (Similar to the rankpins in Star Trek TNG. ) And in the books, people who are striped of their Phonophors become Unpersons.
  • In The Red Vixen Adventures everyone carries "Palm Comps" which operate almost exactly like modern smartphones, except they can also project holograms.
  • In Magic 2.0, the wizards use the so-called "hand phone" macro to communicate with one another. They raise their hands as if they're about to give the Yorick speech and say "Komuniki kun [name]", which is Esperanto for "communicate with". The other person's hand rings like an old-fashioned telephone, until they raise their hand and answer. A personalized GIF image floats over the hand to let you know who's calling. Closing the fist ends the call.
  • Have Space Suit – Will Travel. The eponymous spacesuit the Kid Hero wins in a competition has a radio activated by a chin switch in the helmet, but no radio. He's determined to restore it to fully-working order, so he's able to get hold of the parts needed. He gets it working just in time to establish radio contact with the Flying Saucer that sets off the rest of the plot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor: Cassian gives B2EMO a com-link so that he can tell him where he's put the credits he hopes to get from a black market sale as he flees town. Unfortunately the corpos he's fleeing from corner Maarva and B2EMO and manage to track his location when he uses his com to tell B2EMO where he's hiding the credits.
  • In Andromeda, the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant use comms implanted into their necks. They work over long distances and allow them to communicate with the ship in orbit. Also, they can apparently record and transmit video while being implanted (possibly tapping into the visual nerve for video). Not really used on the ship, as the AI can route calls there.
  • Babylon 5 had comm links that attached to the back of their hands. They weren't used across extremely large distances, making them essentially two-way radios. They also avert the "have no visible means of selecting who to talk to" by requiring the call initiator to specify the call's destination through some kind of, probably automated, switchboard. This can be a person or a location. Also, they can be used as remote controls for their TVs/comm screens on the station and have biometric anti-theft features that prevent effective use by unauthorized people without notifying Station Security. They are specially designed to only stick to living tissue using molecular bonding. An assassin kills a station security guard and steals his comlink, replacing it with a fake. The fake is discovered and is demonstrated by sticking it to the bulkhead, since the fake uses regular glue.
    • The B5 spinoff series Crusade had bracelet variants, otherwise similar in function to the units used in the original show.
  • On Blake's 7, the bracelets that allowed the protagonists to teleport to and from the Liberator also served as communicators. Some commlinks used by the Federation were pressed against the throat like an electrolarynx (they may have been devices that worked through jawbone conduction).
  • Doctor Who:
  • Farscape:
    • The crew of Moya have small badge-like communicators which are threaded through Moya. It also fits the "patch into other networks" as, in the (pre-miniseries) Grand Finale, John uses his to talk to his dad through the phone... from the Moon.
    • In "Thanks for Sharing", a waitress hands Crichton a long black buzzing device. Crichton wants to know if this is a sexual proposition. Chiana takes the device and twists it to form a telephone.
  • Happens occasionally in Kamen Rider, predominantly in 555 where all five Riders have fully-functioning cell phones as their Transformation Trinket. Den-O has the Keitaros cell phone which activates Climax Form, but a more literal example is Hana's otherwise ordinary cell, which can apparently connect with the phone in the dining car of the time-traveling DenLiner.
  • In Knight Rider, Michael communicates with KITT and Devon through use of comm links. When outside of KITT, this device is in his wrist watch, which also has camera and scanner functions when KITT needs more info than what Michael can describe. KITT himself has a comm link in the console.
    • The remake replaces the watch with an earpiece.
  • Leverage has Hardison inventing an earpiece in the pilot that everyone on the team uses throughout the first season to keep in contact over surprisingly vast distances.
    • When they spot similar earpieces used by another crew, someone points out that they're like Hardison's. Hardison immediately takes offense and claims that no one has hardware like his.
  • Power Rangers: Early in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Billy made everyone wristwatch communicators that also happened to tap into their mentor's teleportation system (which was as much a surprise to Billy as the others). They lasted from the original series through Power Rangers in Space. Later Ranger teams had communication functions as part of their Transformation Trinket. Separate communication devices returned in Power Rangers Dino Charge, Power Rangers Ninja Steel and Power Rangers: Beast Morphers. Distance never seems to be a problem.
  • A TV series named Search had agents with remote TV cameras that would fit onto a cuff-link or tie-tac, and implanted voice communications. Oh yes, the TV cameras weren't limited to visible light. The pilot was originally titled Probe, not to be confused with the 1988 series or the obscure public TV series that forced its change of title.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series had cell phone-like devices which from The Next Generation onwards were built into the Starfleet badges. In "How William Shatner Changed the World", Motorola chief engineer and inventor of the cell phone Martin Cooper states that he invented the cell phone because he wanted a real-life Star Trek communicator. Star Trek: Discovery reveals that combadges were already in use in the 23rd century, but were restricted to Section 31. By the 32nd century, combadges are, basically, the smartphones of the future, since they combine communication, tricorder, PADD, and transporter functionality, all in a tiny badge form, by projecting interactive holoscreens in front of the wearer.
  • The Torchwood team has Bluetooth-like devices in their ears, with Jack wearing a custom-made device with glowing LEDs. It is not made clear whether they are regular Bluetooth attachments (i.e., they keep their cell phones hidden), slightly modified Earth technology, or completely Imported Alien Phlebotinum made to look like Earth tech, any or all of which would be perfectly plausible in the Whoniverse. In Series 2, the crew is said to have implanted communicators, removing the need for the actors to wear anything on screen.
  • UFO (1970): In the episode "Computer Affair", when a team of SHADO troops is sent in on foot to attack a UFO, the leader communicates with his superiors with a "wrist radio" version, complete with extendable antenna.
  • In Warehouse 13, the team have cellphones, but for contacting the Warehouse they use Farnsworths, which are dieselpunky Video Phones that never lose a signal (which helps because the Warehouse blocks normal cell phone signal), invented by Philo Farnsworth himself. They're also unhackable, which doesn't stop Claudia trying to hack hers in order to give it a cool ringtone. Being invented in the early 20th century, they only transmit in black-and-white, but appear to have HD quality. We are also never shown anyone actually dialing different Farnsworths.


    Tabletop Games 
  • In Rogue Trader every class starts with one of these, called a Micro-bead, which fits in the ear and has a mike which stretches around the face, rather like a 360 headset. Other helmets have them built in, which is very useful.
    • And (Unusually for this trope) it has a range of about a kilometer.
  • Shadowrun introduced Commlinks after the second Matrix Crash. They're customizable, ultra portable computers that are so ubiquitous nearly everyone in the world owns one.
  • Traveller has them, starting at TL 8 they have an integrated computer (just like a cellphone) and at TL 10 they can be implanted.
  • Paranoia routinely includes com units as part of assigned mission equipment. Like everything else in Alpha Complex, they tend to break down when you want them to work, and work fine when you wish they didn't. (Like when The Computer contacts you while you're busy shooting Commies. Or treasonously shooting loyal citizens.) In the latest editions, they've been upgraded to Personal Digital Companions (basically PDAs/smartphones), and collect spam and viruses like mad.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV has a variation; the whisperweed functions as a communicator once.
    • Final Fantasy V features communicators in the form of grass.
    • Final Fantasy XI has Linkshells and Linkpearls that allow communication across continents, dimensions, and time itself. It's a game mechanic, as well, but at least one that's explained. They're also used in Final Fantasy XIV.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • There is a questline where you use communicators to talk to Brann Bronzebeard (at least on the horde side, where normal communication would be difficult to say the least).
    • Also in WoW are Hearthstones, little enchanted trinkets that let you warp back to your home camp once an hour. On roleplaying servers, Hearthstones are said to also be communication devices, thus explaining how players are chatting across a zone or continent without stepping out of character.
  • In the Hitman series, 47 is usually seen with a laptop or Burner Phone; it's only when Hitman: Absolution was released when the ICA moved over to a comms-based system, where 47, and other agents, have a visible earpiece. The World of Assassination Trilogy has no visible earpiece, but it does imply it, given 47 can hold conversations with Diana mid-mission, meaning it's hidden in 47's ear canal. On a related note, the mission in Hawkes Bay goes one further and has Diana explicitly say she can see the bodies 47's looking at, implying 47's wetsuit has a spycam on his chest somewhere.
  • The codec system in Metal Gear, which is so advanced that there is no external component, only a system of nanites. The codec apparently uses an extremely small cochlear implant to directly stimulate the bones in the ear that are responsible for hearing. It can't be jammed, ever, as long as burst transmission is used (this is actually pretty close to reality), though local transmission can have troubles. The nanites in the body turn the entire human physiological system into a radio antenna for communication... the list goes on. However, at no point is it explained how you're viewing the video feed being transmitted to your inner ear, or how it's more secure to talk to someone a few feet away from you using codec (see Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty) than just face-to-face.
  • The team in Mass Effect series has ear-bead communication systems with enough range to contact a starship in orbit. There's probably a system (possibly an advanced communication suite) built into the hardsuits that the team wear. Supported by the fact that they always seem to put their hand to their ear, and even talk into their elbow a little when they're communicating with the ship.
  • Jack from MadWorld uses two of these, both ear pieces, each to a different person. Strange how only one of them hears the other talk.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 features radios that the characters often use. What's odd is that both sides of the story (Hero and Dark) have the same kind of radio.
  • In Max Payne 2, Max and Mona keep in touch via seeming indestructible (and undetectable, since Mona's doesn't get taken when she gets arrested) Comm Links throughout most of the game.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time features a Comm Link with an effective range of one light year that also triples as a translation device and an impromptu but powerful explosive.note 
  • Cole in inFAMOUS uses what looks like a cell phone to communicate, though the sound effects indicate it is either a radio or in "push-to-talk" mode. Rather cleverly, it closely resembles a real Motorola phone from the old Nextel service, which had both push-to-talk and rubber insulation. Given that Cole accidentally fries most electronics, it's probably the only one he can use.
  • Quake IV uses wrist based comms that seem to work though several miles of Strogg Architecture.
  • The various The Legend of Zelda games solve this in different ways. Many games it's just plain ol telepathy that lets Princess Zelda talk to Link. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has the Pirate's Charm, which initially allows Tetra, and later the King of Red Lions, to talk to Link.
  • Space Quest V: The Next Mutation, being a parody of Star Trek, uses flip communicators for Roger to contact the ship.
  • Dead Space and Dead Space 2 have RIG transmissions, both video and audio, that work reliably in adverse conditions and only fail for plot reasons.
  • StarCraft: Used by all Terran units (along with plot-driven static in Brood War). One of the Goliath's lines is even "Commlink online". Merges with Subspace Ansible when entire news networks are able to simultaneously broadcast across multiple planets in multiple star systems.

  • In Antihero for Hire, Shadehawk has one that keeps him in touch with Wrench. They appear to be standard gear for superheroes; Crossroad has one for connecting with Echo, and the Civic Champions all have them as well.
  • Schlock Mercenary has hypernet communicators.
  • One of the many functions of the Pockets from Tower of God.

    Web Original 
  • Fatebane in Associated Space has a computer built into his brain that can function as a communicator.
  • The body-surfing AI O'Malley from Red vs. Blue uses radio waves to hop from host to host. Shutting off the helmet radios everyone uses is a frequent plot point for the Blue team.
  • Mildly subverted in The Descendants, where they have what they call comms, but to talk to specific people, they still need someone at a computer running a switchboard of sorts, otherwise, they all use the same channel.
  • Noob is set in a MMORPG, in which all members of a given group can remotely communicate whith each other by putting their settings in the right position. Both the main guilds however have a master enforcing roleplay that includes the option being turned off to make the game experience more realistic. Exceptions happen only if either of the groups is doing task in which direct verbal communication is necessary for success (the game has some quests with no second chances).
  • Ink City provides every new resident with a communicator which lets them talk, text or send video messages (sometimes activating on their own). If destroyed, they turn up again on their own where their owner can stumble across them. During the World Split incident, they could even be used to speak to anyone stranded in the other version of the city, which proved key to fixing the issue. Oh, and you can also play Nyan Cat on them. Thanks, Ema!

    Western Animation 
  • The Justice League have their own communicators, ultra-slick tech that fits in the ear. In the comics, on the other hand, Martian Manhunter usually just keeps everyone telepathically networked.
  • Teen Titans (2003): The Titans have hand-held clamshell devices that function as communicators. In the final season, the Brotherhood of Evil manages to capture one and uses it to track down all of the heroes and capture them one by one. Robin has to re-wire his so that it can detonate a secret explosive inside each one.
  • In X-Men: The Animated Series, the X symbols on the suits are communicators.
  • The Avengers' ID cards made the leap to The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
  • Kim Possible has her "Kimmunicator", which is shaped like a compact. It's like a PDA with Everything Sensors built in, not to mention a seriously powerful battery, extendable robot arms and whatever else might come in handy. Late in the run, she gets a new wrist-mounted version. In one episode, Drakken locked Kim in a vault and threw the vault into a deep water-filled pit after confiscating her Kimmunicator. Kim then remembered that her class ring had a back-up Kimmunicator that also doubled as a laser torch and emergency rebreather!
  • Totally Spies!: The girls use a Compowder to communicate (so called because it looks like a make-up kit, which often contain powder puffs).
  • Transformers: Animated: The bots in this series seem to have comm links built into their heads and can be seen pressing on their ears (or where ears would be on a human) to communicate. The comm links are shown to work while one party is on Earth and another is on the moon, making the Fake Static some characters make seem extra fake.
  • In both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, the turtles have communicators. In the first the bad guys also have them, and even the dimensional port in the Technodrome can double as such. And with two parallel systems, it is no wonder that both sides sometimes used the communicators to hack each others' frequencies. In the later series the Turtles use special modified Cell Phones instead.
  • Static and Richie (later Gear) in Static Shock make gadgets called Shock Boxes, which work like walkie talkies. In one episode, Static manages to use his powers to boost their range to across the planet, somehow.
  • On The Venture Bros., Brock Samson and Thaddeus, Hank, and Dean Venture have communicator wristwatches they can use to contact each other or HELPeR. Jonas Venture, Jr, has his communicator built into his shirt collar, which is more accessible but lacks a video screen.
  • The Centurions use wristwatch-like communicators.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Fantastic Voyage, the team members have small radio devices that they sometimes use to communicate with each other when separated.
  • The Bionic Six all have "wristcomms" hard-wired into their wrists (a side-effect of the Emergency Transformation that turned most of them into cyborgs); it serves as one half of the Transformation Trinket (the other half is a ring they slam into a port of the wristcomm).
  • The Wild Kratts have their Creature Pods, wrist-mounted video communicators that keep them in touch with the Tortuga, various Wild Kratts kids, and each other. Or maybe not, as the brothers losing/breaking/forgetting the darn things is a common Plot Device.

    Real Life 
  • This is the essence of what two-way radios are for. Modern radios can include a variety of features including selectable frequencies, programmable encryption, and even the ability to get around enemy jamming. You can program a radio so that you could talk to specific people by flipping a dial to a specific pre-set channel, though it's not quite the same as just saying who you want to talk to, and the range of a small handheld unit can be surprisingly long. In fact, modern mobile phones are simply two-way radios designed to call into a network trunk tied into the landline telephone system.
  • Comm badges actually exist already, though so far their only real market is hospitals, where specific doctors need to be summoned quickly for meetings or to tend to patient emergencies (the other method for reaching them, of course, is paging them via beepers or the hospital PA system).
  • Mobile phones are actually older than you might think they are — the first commercially-marketed one was made available in 1946. It was hardly portable in the handheld sense, though, as it was designed as a car phone. The first device we might recognize as a cell phone was created by 1973 by Motorola, though it was still very bulky by modern standards, weighing in at a little over 2 pounds.
    • The idea of a handheld, video-capable personal phone existed as early as 1956, and Bell Labs even had a mockup to show off. The technology to actually make it happen was what took so long.