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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old October 30 2012, 03:19 PM   #1
ThunderAeroI
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LCARS input

Maybe it's just what the name implies and only for access and retrieval, but how in the world of Trek do you enter information into the thing?

Are there any screenshots or samples of actual data entry screens?
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Old October 30 2012, 06:19 PM   #2
KamenRiderBlade
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Re: LCARS input

ThunderAeroI wrote: View Post
Maybe it's just what the name implies and only for access and retrieval, but how in the world of Trek do you enter information into the thing?

Are there any screenshots or samples of actual data entry screens?
I would assume it's like modern day touch screen, only with more confusing UI design thanks to Michael Okuda. They have proven within Star Trek that they have Speech Recognition technology in ENT. That's how alot of people prefer to write their logs. Just talk until it's done.

Granted Michael Okuda is no Computer Scientist or Programmer. I would've come up with more interesting and logical design myself. But I have the benefit of looking back now with my knowledge of computers and programming to fall back on.
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Old October 30 2012, 06:52 PM   #3
ThunderAeroI
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Re: LCARS input

Actually I quite like using the LCARS interface I made for my computer application. It uses the classic LCARS design with 1/3 of the screen above the bar and 2/3 below with the controls on the right and when needed it has a sub form that uses the left facing horseshoe pattern inside the lower 2/3. I have a moving record of user actions in the top 1/3 and It seems to run well on an android phone. The key is to make use of the shoulders-bars and make everything function and accessible - which isn't hard with OnClick, OnMouseOver, etc.

A sanitized version is shown here:

But entering user input is something that can't be easily done without a mouse. Like entering text by your hand, changing dates, etc. This is only for the browsing of existing data. Clicking on the 'Controls' buttons on the right makes an overlay with additional options for each record row. Clicking "Form Utilities" opens an overlay with some export to 3rd party options.

I have some ideas on how best to do it with only a touchscreen, but I was hoping their was some source material to go back to.
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Old October 30 2012, 07:53 PM   #4
danellis
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Re: LCARS input

Bear in mind that *a lot* of consoles in StarTrek are in at least two parts (think of the stations at the back of the Enterprise-D bridge), not "only a touch-screen" at all.

This construction lends itself to any "keyboard and monitor" analogy that;s needed in any particular circumstance (doesn't Data use a QWERTY keyboard in "penpals"?) - only the keyboard's reconfigurable to whatever best suits the user's needs.

dJE
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Old October 30 2012, 08:30 PM   #5
F. King Daniel
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Re: LCARS input

danellis wrote: View Post
Bear in mind that *a lot* of consoles in StarTrek are in at least two parts (think of the stations at the back of the Enterprise-D bridge), not "only a touch-screen" at all.

This construction lends itself to any "keyboard and monitor" analogy that;s needed in any particular circumstance (doesn't Data use a QWERTY keyboard in "penpals"?) - only the keyboard's reconfigurable to whatever best suits the user's needs.
There's a QWERTY in "Pen Pals"? I've been trying to spot one in Trek for decades, and I thought JJ Abrams' Star Trek was their first appearence on a starship.
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Old October 30 2012, 08:44 PM   #6
ThunderAeroI
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Re: LCARS input

I have never seen a QWERTY in any Star Trek, about the only thing closest is their small computer terminals that have a keyboard like in the captains office. So the point remains how do you enter information only with touch.
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Old October 30 2012, 09:09 PM   #7
F. King Daniel
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Re: LCARS input

Just in case anyone's interested, here's a QWERTY from STXI (they were on the perimeter consoles)
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Old October 30 2012, 11:24 PM   #8
Boris Skrbic
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Re: LCARS input

How? Obviously, by tapping various buttons labelled 3069, 1987, 4077, 12314123124123124 in carefully memorized sequences, which is harder than typing an SMS on a dialpad. But then, once the user's competence has been confirmed by the AI (and this is when the camera does a closeup out-of-universe), some of the obscure numbers are helpfully replaced with readable text, though a few remain in corners and such, to be unlocked by further memorized sequences. Essentially it's a security feature, allowing only trained Starfleet crewmembers to access the full LCARS functionality.
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Old October 31 2012, 01:09 PM   #9
Sandoval
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Re: LCARS input

KamenRiderBlade wrote: View Post
Granted Michael Okuda is no Computer Scientist or Programmer. I would've come up with more interesting and logical design myself.
I love the arrogance!

Take that Michael Okuda!
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Old October 31 2012, 06:44 PM   #10
KamenRiderBlade
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Re: LCARS input

Sandoval wrote: View Post
KamenRiderBlade wrote: View Post
Granted Michael Okuda is no Computer Scientist or Programmer. I would've come up with more interesting and logical design myself.
I love the arrogance!

Take that Michael Okuda!
You look at the layout of his LCARS and tell me it's understandable.

He has random buttons with random sets of letters and numbers assigned to them.

How is anybody supposed to figure out what is what short of memorization.
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Old October 31 2012, 10:45 PM   #11
Undead
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Re: LCARS input

I don't think it was ever his intent for every panel and button to be instantly recognizable, just to be futuristic looking. Okuda's primary contribution to the franchise has been art and graphical design.
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Old October 31 2012, 11:35 PM   #12
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Re: LCARS input

Undead wrote: View Post
I don't think it was ever his intent for every panel and button to be instantly recognizable, just to be futuristic looking. Okuda's primary contribution to the franchise has been art and graphical design.
For that, I do appreciate it.

But as for a logical working computer GUI, that's a whole different story.
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Old November 1 2012, 12:14 AM   #13
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Re: LCARS input

LCARS isn't a graphical interface. It's actually a telepathic interface that takes input directly from your thoughts and intentions and displays output accordingly.

The only reason it has buttons and panels is so that the user can push the button that corresponds most directly to the subject matter his thoughts correspond to, to make his workflow easier to categorize. The voice interface is supplemental to this and is used for general inquiries that are hard to categorize. Otherwise, the entire system simply reads your thoughts and uses the tactile commands to help you organize your own thought processes.
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Old November 1 2012, 12:15 AM   #14
Sandoval
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Re: LCARS input

It was just meant to look futuristic in 1987. Which it did.

It doesn't need to be workable as a real life user interface, it just has to look pretty. Just like everything else in Star Trek doesn't actually need to work.

You need to get over this.

And you wouldn't have done a better job than Michael Okuda.
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Old November 1 2012, 12:46 AM   #15
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Re: LCARS input

I agree, it was never intended to be a working user interface. It was more artistic visual than workable design and that's all it needed to be. It excelled at that.

Besides, when it was created in the mid-'80s, what real-life GUI existed as a basis for comparison?

And the gibberish that appears meaningless wasn't really meant to be read on-screen, it was background detail. If meaning must be sought, I'd attribute it to some LCARS specifics that is meaningful to users aboard starships but not to our familiar 21st century systems. We've got some systems only a few decades old today that would appear unrecognizable to many current users. So what's a couple centuries from now? I imagine even "computers" as we understand them today may be so far removed from today's tech as to be completely different altogether.

But back on topic... that some have configured LCARS into a workable design today is fantastic. I love it.
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