Modern Day Technology Inspired By Star Trek
The Star Trek Universe and Franchise has been quite beneficial to us in our real world by spurring a lot of ideas and inventions.
Here are some of the modern day technologies that were inspired by the fictional Star Trek Universe....
In the fictitious Star Trek universe, the crew of the Starship Enterprise use a device called the communicator to contact one another, both on and off the ship.
This handy gadget also enables crew members to contact other starships, which was rather useful when faced with different situations.
For some years now, we've been using a similar way to contact each other just like it was done in the Star Trek Universe.
The devices we use currently though are known as cell phones and they're very similar to Star Trek communicators.
Martin Cooper, who was the man associated and credited with the innovation of the first handheld cellular phone in the 1970s, had stated that his prototypes for the device were inspired by the original Star Trek technology.
~• TABLET COMPUTERS
The Personal Access Display Devices, or PADDs as they are called in Star Trek, have been in broad use since at least the twenty second century in the Star Trek universe.
The futuristic looking computer interface were used by space-faring organizations to punch in coordinates for star systems, as well as being a recreational tool aboard the ship.
As the years have passed we have seen, watched, and observed as our real-world computers developed into touchscreen devices with considerable computing power.
Take for an example, Apple’s first-generation iPad.
This first generation iPad aided in bringing the PADD device from Star Trek into reality in the year 2010 and is currently utilized by many people in their daily lives today.
~• WARP DRIVE
This technology, the Warp Drive, is an extremely beneficial technology used in Star Trek.
It works by generating a warp field to envelop a Starship in a subspace bubble to distort the spacetime continuum and propel the vessel forward at a velocity that is faster than the speed of light.
Interestingly, NASA has indicated that this completely fictional concept could actually be possible. In recent years, the scientific community has become increasingly excited about the concept of a warp propulsion system, which could provide the path to ultrafast interplanetary travel in the future.
In the Star Trek universe, phased array pulsed energy projectiles, aka phasers, are available in a wide range of sizes and styles, ranging from handheld firearms to starship-mounted weapons, which can discharge beams, slice materials, trigger explosions, and, most famously, be set to stun.
In the real world, identical and analogous possibilities have been in use since the 1970s.
Tasers and stun guns perform quite similar actions to Captain Kirk’s primary weapon, however, these energy weapons have to be activated in close range to the target to stop them in their tracks.
~• UNIVERSAL TRANSLATORS
While Captain Kirk and his crew planet hop aboard the Starship Enterprise, the crew would regularly make contact with a number of different alien races and species, emerging from a variety of strange new worlds, so the universal translator was a very essential piece of technology to decode those foreign languages when they came in contact with them.
Today, there are multiple technologies that accomplish the same thing though they have not reached Starfleet’s level of dependability yet. A lot of companies, however, are making significant progress in developing more advanced software that can translate complex sentences, especially via apps.
The tricorder is another important piece of equipment seen in the Star Trek universe. The multifunctional handheld device was used to sensor scan an environment or an individual and record data for analysis. In particular, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy often used it to diagnose and help cure patients.
Here on Earth, a number of similar products have been created to mimic the capabilities of the Star Trek device. For instance, the DNA Lab by QuantuMDx can scan a patient and deliver a diagnosis in 15 minutes, while NASA employs LOCAD to measure organisms on the International Space Station.
~• Video Calls
Crewmembers aboard the Starship Enterprise are able to access special video technologies that allow one person to connect with another in a way that makes both parties feel as if they are present in the same location, even though they might in fact be separated by vast time differences and space.
Since 1966, this invention had become an increasingly common and useful communication tool in real-world scenarios. In particular, Cisco’s video call system offers an authentic experience by mirroring the surroundings of multiple users in a videoconference to make it seem like they’re all together.
In the Star Trek universe, the replicator has a number of functions and purposes, with some proving to be more popular than others.
Take for an example, Captain Jean-Luc Picard frequently used the replicator to order a cup of “Tea, Earl Gray, Hot,” which is then produced from the ship’s reserves.
These days, real world replicators exist in the form of 3D printers, which build three-dimensional objects from a computer-aided design model.
While they might be lacking a capability to deliver the perfect mixture, these devices have a range of practical processes in order to manufacture or generate quite complex and intricate objects.
~• TRACTOR BEAMS
The highly powered tractor beams in the Star Trek Universe are often used by starships and space stations to control and physically maneuver objects in deep space, which was particularly useful for towing ships in need of assistance to safety and pushing ships out of dangerous situations.
In real life, optical tweezers operate in a comparable fashion to the graviton beams that commonly appear in the science fiction genre, though on a much smaller scale.
Instead of hauling or transporting ships from one location to another, these scientific instruments use laser beams of light to hold and move microscopic or infinitesimal objects.
The Holodecks seen in Star Trek are similar to our real world Virtual Reality.
In the future of the Star Trek universe, the traditional televised entertainment apparently has gone the way of all of Earth's problems.
When the crews of the Enterprise D, Voyager, or Deep Space 9 had a desire for some rest and relaxation or recreation, they would enter the Holodeck for a fully immersive adventure.
Over the years, the Star Trek Universe has used them as a sort of plot device to get the characters outside the setting of space and into any number of shenanigans, ranging from visits from Professor Moriarity, to fights in Sherwood Forest, and famous battles of World War II.
Sometimes, any one or more episodes of a season, would feature the "malfunctioning Holodeck" trope, and the anachronistic characters would cause chaos on the ship.
This type of entertainment, where you are completely immersed in the action or participating in it, clearly finds its correspondence in virtual reality, which continues to expand as a medium for viewing and gaming. It's not hard to imagine a not so distant future with Star Trek's holodecks.
~• VOICE INTERFACE COMPUTERS
In the Star Trek universe, you could have an informal conversation or chat to a computer. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who was the Star Trek creator's wife, was usually the one behind the voice.
In the real world, we've got Siri and Alexa, to do that for us just like Majel had done in the Star Trek Universe.
Google had at one point even code named their voice based service "Majel," in honor of Barrett-Roddenberry.