|Manga Debut||Volume 1, Chapter 1|
|Movie Debut||Movie 1|
|Game Debut||Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo|
The Dragon Radar (ドラゴンレーダー, Doragon Rēdā) is a mechanical device which allows for a far easier finding of the mythical Dragon Balls. While the most well-known radar in the series was created by a young Bulma, other radars do exist in the series, most notably used by the Red Ribbon Army and later, Emperor Pilaf.
Background and Usage
The original Dragon Radar shown in the series was first created by a young Bulma sometime after she first discovered a Dragon Ball in her cellar. After discovering that the Dragon Balls gave off a very faint, electromagnetic pulse, she constructed a Dragon Radar to detect it. The radar points in the direction of the Dragon Balls by using arrows, and pressing the top button would zoom out to show more of the planet and surrounding area. If a Dragon Ball is swallowed by a living creature, the Dragon Radar can no longer pick up the faint electromagnetic pulse the Balls give off. There are also other ways to distort the signal of the Balls to prevent the Radar from picking them up.
While the construction of other radars isn't precisely known, the one created by Bulma has inner working that are so intricate, it cannot be repaired unless taken specifically to Bulma. Even Android 8, an Android created by the notorious Red Ribbon Army, was unable to fix it, despite stating to be adequate with machinery.
The Red Ribbon Army Arc would also feature the début of a Dragon Radar different from Bulma's; a noticeably inferior model. This model was capable of giving a general location of the Dragon Balls, but could not pinpoint them exactly. This was quite unlike Bulma's own model, which could point out the exact location of the Balls. This led to the Army desiring to steal the superior model from the young Son Gokū.
In Other Media
Dragon Ball GT
In Dragon Ball GT, the Dragon Radar works more or less the same as it always has. However, eventually, the Machine Mutant known as Gill would go on to swallow the Radar for sustenance. Eventually, however, the radar was eventually incorporated into the Machine Mutant's body, allowing Gill to function as a living Dragon Radar. The Dragon Radar would never be removed from Gill within the span of the series.
- Various smartphone apps exist in the real world to simulate the in-universe Dragon Radar.