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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old April 1 2015, 05:52 AM   #1
uniderth
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Food Slots

Theories have been proposed about what the food slots are. The one's I've heard are that they are replicators, or they are an elevator system linked to the galley.

I wonder if they could be better represented as an advanced 3D food printer.

I suppose that's what I like about the way technology is represented in the Star Trek series. It's not represented to too much detail.

Fifteen years ago no one would have thought that the food slots could have been 3D printers. Yet today we can propose that very sort of thing. Rather than a system of elevators, those food slots could be an advanced form of present day technology. It can still be seen as futuristic.

Granted, we still are left with the clickety-clack computer access. But hey, you can't win 'em all.
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Old April 1 2015, 06:45 AM   #2
robau
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Re: Food Slots

It's people.
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Old April 1 2015, 08:39 AM   #3
Captain Rob
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Re: Food Slots

The food slots are lifts tied directly to the galley. That's what TMoST says and that's the only reasonable and timely explanation that accounts for the tribbles in Kirk's coffee.
I think that the galley was located in the center of the ship probably below Sickbay and that the locations of the food slots were in the central areas of each deck. Such as the transporters and the mess areas. There would be a separate galley for the engineering section.
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Old April 1 2015, 09:03 AM   #4
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Food Slots

I love how it was never explained in TOS, it was just a magical future technology.

That said, I assume in retrospect that they're early replicators.
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Old April 1 2015, 01:48 PM   #5
SchwEnt
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Re: Food Slots

I'd like to think they were small conveyors coming from a galley. But we've seen the slots go from empty to full in four seconds or less. I don't see how a tray of food and utensils could be physically arranged at one location and then conveyed to a designated food slot in that span of time. Unless we assume some artistic license and it wasn't literally a couple seconds but rather a minute or so.

Perhaps it is some form of early replicator.
It would fit in-between ENT's protein re-sequencers and TNG's replicators.
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Old April 1 2015, 02:34 PM   #6
Mytran
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Re: Food Slots

We only saw the food slots used a few times and there's no reason to think that the Rec Rooms featured weren't situated directly above the food preparation facilities. I expect that most of the preparation work (laying cutlery with the plate and napkin on the tray etc) was done in advance by automation, so only the actual depositing of the diner's choice needed to be done at short notice.

The one in the Transporter Room (seen first in TIS and then destroyed by Spock in TSOP) was probably just installed by a bored engineer who got fed up of queuing for his lunch round the corner and took advantage of the close proximity of the galley below. I imagine the area was later repurposed into the scanner station we saw regularly in Season Two.
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Old April 1 2015, 04:34 PM   #7
Kor
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Re: Food Slots

I think the word is "dumbwaiters." At least, when they are in a house.

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Old April 1 2015, 05:37 PM   #8
uniderth
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Re: Food Slots

Imagine your soup zipping through the mini elevator system and sloshing everywhere. Or your ice cream falling out of the cup as it whooshes through the system.

Having the food made there in the slot seems a lot more practical (and logical) than sending it careening through an elevator system. It is generally agreed that replicator technology on that small of a scale was not practical either during this time frame. That leaves some sort of physical construction device such as a 3D printer or something similar.
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Old April 1 2015, 06:23 PM   #9
T'Girl
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Re: Food Slots

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
But we've seen the slots go from empty to full in four seconds or less.

Perhaps it is some form of early replicator.
It took the replicator more than four seconds to do it's deed.

uniderth wrote: View Post
Imagine your soup zipping through the mini elevator system and sloshing everywhere..
Artifical gravity and inertial dampening. The mini-turbo lifts could (maybe) move faster than the big ones carrying people.

The big turbo lifts had to allow people to move about, the mini's inertial dampening system would be allowed to hold objects completely still, and they could move at hundreds of gees.

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Old April 1 2015, 06:40 PM   #10
Mytran
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Re: Food Slots

Yep, the tray and food would have to be either frozen solid or (for a more sci-fi feel) encased in a stasis field.

Actually this idea doesn't come out of nowhere - the crew are forever munching sticks of celery or having fresh, green leaves adorn their plates. While there is talk in TMOST about refrigeration facilities on board, this only extends the life of fresh fruit & veg by a matter of days. What you need is something that could (potentially) last for years. Voila - the stasis field. It was mentioned by Dr Crusher in TNG as a common medical technology, and the concept gets a mention in 3 TAS episodes (Bem, Slaver Weapon, More Tribble More Troubles). A stasis chamber also appears in Mr Scott's Guide To The Enterprise, again for medical purposes (even if non canonical, it shows that the idea was still floating around then)

But what about TOS? Naturally the crew don't talk about how the food is made (its everyday technology to them) but I do believe we get to see the stasis field in action, after a fashion:

In The Naked Time we get a good close-up of the food slot in action and the tray arrives with a cloud of steam gusting out of the top of the chamber (you can just see it on the top left here). It can't be steam from the (hot) food because the plate is covered with a lid, so where does it come from?

Why's its the remnants of the stasis field of course!

So, food is taken from long term storage (or stasis if fresh), prepared into a dish in the galley, loaded into the delivery system and kept in stasis until called for by the crew upstairs. simple!
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Old April 1 2015, 06:49 PM   #11
Kor
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Re: Food Slots

^ Or hydroponics bays for growing "ve-ge-ta-bles," as Kor would say. The ship has an arboretum with real plants (or was that in one of the novels?), so I think that would be reasonable.

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Old April 1 2015, 06:58 PM   #12
Mytran
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Re: Food Slots

Possible (especially for speciality food) but then you would need crew to grow, tend, harvest etc. A starship ought to be a bit more efficient in my mind, hence things like antimatter, replicators etc - more energy intensive to produce at first, but take up less space once on board ship.
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Old April 1 2015, 07:08 PM   #13
Melakon
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Re: Food Slots

Behind the back wall of each food synthesizer unit was a team of hard working Keebler Elves.
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Old April 1 2015, 07:33 PM   #14
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Re: Food Slots

For what it's worth, we learn a bit more about these food selectors/synthesizers in the book The Making of Star Trek by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry:

"The primary hull’s eighth deck level contains four major facilities: a large recreation area, the main food preparation area (similar to the galley aboard our ships today), ship’s laundry, and a rather exotic entertainment center….From the central food preparation area, the [food] selection is transferred via a small turbo lift that connects the several dining and recreation areas scattered throughout the ship."
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Old April 1 2015, 08:39 PM   #15
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Food Slots

It's hard to imagine how tribbles could appear in the food were the flood slots replicators.
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