Tech update in Star Trek

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Lighthammer, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Lets pretend for the sake of argument that a new series is a forgone conclusion for this thread so we don't get side tracked in to any of those sorts of logistics.

    Something I have been thinking about off and on over the past few days is Star Trek tech and science would probably need an update when a new series finally manifests itself.

    Here's a few things in recent science that is changing our perception of Star Trek:

    "Every day" technology: Things like pads and computers are starting to dramatically make computers in Star Trek look obsolete. Sure, someone can sit back and play the devils advocate "They're probably more powerful then we ever gave it credit for", but lets be realistic, things like PADs did what the producers intended them to do --- illustrate a paperless society. Today's tablets have only begun to scratch the surface of what their potential is and they put Star Trek PADs to absolute shame.

    Other technology pieces such as computer cores are also starting to look absolutely obsolete. In various scripts and/or technical manuals, computer stats were rattled off that sounded astronomic to that days standards but today's super computers actually put them to shame. In raw processing power, IBM has better computers today then Voyager's "top of the line, fresh off the assembly" computer core and its a bit smaller then 2 decks in size >.<. To make matters worse --- Star Trek computers are implied to still be using some form of a binary system where as we know in the next 10-20 years, computers will be quantum based in our society.

    We haven't quite figured out things like food replicators or transporters yet, but we're certainly on our way towards figuring out if it can truly be done and current science suggests it is possible.

    On the pure science part (specifically where Physics applies), we've all but ruled out faster then light travel isn't going to happen and the science behind how warp drive works has been debunked. At this point, we still have high hopes for some sort of space folding technology which, if it pans out, would make the galaxy much smaller. in terms of raw ability to transit from one place to another.

    Likewise, we're finding out that the galaxy is a much more interesting place then we thought back when originally making story lines for Star Trek. Star Trek could certainly serve to allow more exploration over various phenomena.

    We've also considered evolution much more since the original premier of Star Trek and have come to conclusions that suggest less and less potential intelligent life is humanoid or even bi-pedal. Technology has made it easier to represent this today and an update to how we look at different life forms would easily make for a more interesting approach.

    On the medical front, I think Star Trek still manages to stay well ahead of today's sciences and doesn't seem to active contradict ayn new evidence, but there are certainly some new forms of research that would prove interesting if utlized in Star Trek and reimagined for the 24th centuary.

    In other words, if Star Trek was redone today, I think it would be a very different place!
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think generally all you really need are phasers, tricorders, and communicators. You can come up with some sort of new souped-up names to make them sound more updated than the devices used in the 24th-Century.

    Thinking about it further, though, PADDs and desktop computer terminals may indeed be obsolete if characters can now just wave their hand and have images and files appear in mid-air before them like Ayel did in Star Trek XI (a tricorder-like device may still be handy in scanning, analyzing, and recording things on away team missions, however).

    Monitor screens and touchscreen control panels may still be necessary at various command stations on the ship. "Ether-based" interfaces might be good for everyday household usage, but not all of them might be as reliable or as rugged aboard a starship during a crisis situation perhaps.
     
  3. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    The real 24th century would be nothing like Star Trek.
     
  4. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yknow, I wouldnt mind if the next series takes lots of liberties with the details of future tech, to update everything, even if it messes up continuity.

    We can keep the notion that the Feds are neurotic about genetic enhancements, but there should be a lot more cybernetics used medically, and treated as no big deal. Geordi's eyes should not have been a source of angst or a sign that he was handicapped.

    How about more attention to futuristic fabrics and clothing? Starfleet should not send their people into battle wearing pajamas. They should be wearing lightweight fabrics that are far beyond kevlar in terms of protection. And if Starfleet can protext its Starships with force fields, it should do the same for its personnel, with personal force field generators.

    And there definitely needs to be more attention to information technology. Starfleet is on an exploration mission, so they should be collecting all possible data on every alien they encounter and then giving their people the means to quickly google their own datatbase when they encounter new species that maybe arent so new. This would be integated into stories manly by inference - ENT shouldnt be able to encounter Ferengi and Borg, and later on have Starfleet be entirely clueless about these species.

    And how about some seat belts on the bridge? ;)
     
  5. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Even if they're made of lightweight fabrics that are far beyond kevlar they'll still look like "pajamas" if that's what comes to mind when you see them.

    Don't think I'ver seen any Starfleet uniforms that look like this:

    [​IMG] or this [​IMG]

    Trouble is they weren't clueless. Starfleet had quite a bit of information on the Ferengi, they didn't have a picture though. A database is only as good as the information in it. It can't magically call a race "the Ferengi" unless that info is in the database.

    C. E Evans has it right. It will still be phasers, tricorders, and communicators only they might look and operate differently.


    Did someone say it would?
     
  6. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which surprises nobody, ever.
     
  7. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    On the communication front, its probably still fair to say the 24th Centuary Star Fleet still has us beat down pretty hard. The only thing we've done in that front is really prove that "subspace" doesn't exist, but we've essentially evolved that theory to include other dimension shifts and/or planes none of which I think is considered to be concrete science yet. Besides simply relabeling subspace, I don't think much would actually change.

    On the clothing front, I know GR made it a point that he didn't want any form zippers, velcro, buttons and the ilk to ever be visible on the uniforms (at least in the 24th century). The idea was supposed to be that some new, undisclosed form of fasener existed in the 23rd and 24th century that would allow clothing to fit people perfectly. It would be interesting if that got more context in the series, but as some of you probably know, I'm pulling most this info from interviews. It is an interesting point that the uniforms should be stated to have some sort of protection against the elements or even more importantly, some way to make all the several species co-existing feel comfortable with some sort of standardized temperature and humidity settings. We certainly know several species who prefer the temperature to be much cooler or much hotter then humans do. I would think the uniforms would some how reflect this in some sort of minor detail.

    On the computer front of things, I really tend to think 3D Control Panels that have the look and feel of being highly intuitive and highly customizable is the way of the future. Something like what we saw in Earth: Final Conflict. To me, however, just grabbing that idea and running with it seems like a cop out, it almost feels like there should be something as far as computer interference that goes beyond that, although I don't quite know what to suggest.

    I whole heartily agree with information tech. One thing I would honestly expect to be a foregone conclusion to exist in the 24th century is some sort of contact lenses that aid in the acquisition and recall of information. On similar fronts, I would actually expect Tricorders to be a ton more intuitive then they look to be currently. Even though we're no where close to matching the sheer information gathering power a Tricorder posses in each series, we're certainly capable of making a better looking, more practical device with more features today.

    Honestly, thinking about all this, it honestly feels like we're better off with a reboot of say, TNG so we're not constantly retconing everything.
     
  8. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Commander Red Shirt

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    Sometimes ago my nephew had this interesting anime called "Accel World". Although I'm not watching it seriously, but the computer idea of that cartoon is interesting. The computer is a kind of device that you put on the neck and will give the user a 3D interface / screen that can only be seen by the wearer. Compared to 24th Century Star Trek, this Anime Computer is much-much more advanced and interesting.
     
  9. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    "Spock's Brain" had Kirk ordering, "Set suit temperatures at 72." at which point everyone fiddled with their belts. So they had something futuristic going on.

    No good at phaser-proofing, tho.
     
  10. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Starfleet database shouldn't depend on a visualization of the Ferengi to ID them. There should be all sorts of ways to tag an alien species - their vocalizations, the pheremones they exude, etc.

    And why isn't there a picture of them in the database? Explorers should be scanning everyone and everything they encounter all the time in every possible way, visual light wavelengths being only one of the things they collect. This should be passive as well as active - there shild be cameras and other data collection devices inside and outside the ships and with the away teams at all times.

    If the cameras were broken at the time, what's wrong with interviewing the crew and having them work up sketches of the Ferengi, which can then be rendered into realistic 3D graphics? That's technology we have now. The renderings go into the database and facial recognition technology should allow future away teams to instantly recognize the Ferengi as a known species, just by pointing a tricorder at them, which automatically accesses the ship's database.

    All this stuff is what I'd retcon - someone needs to sit down and put more thought into what explorers actually would be doing, what kind of technology they would be using, and to what ends. Collecting data and making it easy to retrieve and understand is the basic role of an explorer. Start by looking at what NASA is doing with their Mars expeditions. That's actual exploration, more than I've ever seen from Starfleet.

    And I wouldn't change the look of the uniforms, since fabric tech would allow the fabric to look anyway they like. The nice, soft pajama look is a good style for ease and comfort. The part I'd change is the fabric not fending off phaser blasts or protecting the wearer from temperature extremes.

    Maybe they were beamed into their unforms every morning? :D

    Yet there was one episode where the away team was freezing on some planet's surface. Why couldn't their uniforms be set to compensate for any temperature? Or why couldn't their uniforms generate a force field around them to create an environmental bubble? Protection from harsh environments should be one of the first things you tackle in space exploration, and they should have every angle figured out on that subject.

    The integration of information tech and clothing is definitely an area they need to put more thought into. The military is already making some advances in that area, which will spill over to consumer uses. For instance, away teams should have heads up displays in their field of vision to give them visual info from more than just their immediate surroundings, and this should be tied into the ship's database. This might be via goggles, contact lenses or even eye implants if that's not too creepy.

    To put it into practical terms, the minute a 24th C away team encounters some funny little bat-faced aliens, the team's scanners which are built into their ocular implants should instantaneously transmit info on the new aliens to the ship, which kicks back a match to the funny little bat-faced aliens from the 22nd C that they have realistic 3D renderings of based on a long ago encounter when all the cameras were unaccountably broken. Plus they exude a certain easily identifiable chemical from their lobes, ewww.

    Then the team is given all vital info (visual and auditory) on the aliens' behavior and any tendency towards aggression. All this should happen as quickly as possible to give the team time to prepare appropriately for a possible threat.

    This is the best way to stop the team from being killed by aliens who it turns out were known and hostile. Or, if not hostile, it prevents them from making some mistake that could lead to violence. This sort of thing should be so important - safeguarding lives, not causing needless conflict - that any and all technologies to make it happen should long since be in place.

    Starfleet should even have established protocols for any aliens in the database, such as, "if you ever encounter the bat-faced aliens again, do a, b and c but definitely not x, y and z." Away teams should not have to figure this out in the fly while their lives are possibly in danger.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
  11. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It really feels like they absolutely do need to take the technology we have today and send it to the logical extremes --- which in fairness, they DID do that back when TNG premiered, they just never really thought of how much more powerful our tools would get today.

    I mean just using the Android OS, Tablets and Google Glasses as templates on where these pieces of technology would go just seems natural now.

    What Star Trek (or lets face it, this is really not sounding like Star Trek anymore) needs to do is attempt to anticipate how much powerful these tools will become in the not-so-distant future.

    Its Star Trek that inspired us to try to push some of our technology as far as we have, it needs to be Star Trek that illustrates how much powerful those tools can be in the future and inspire us to go further.

    With the location software we have today, something that would be interesting is to explain how that system exports itself to new planet without a GPS system in place.
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You're missing the point. You can have a picture of an big eared, snaggle-toothed alien in your database. You can have the name "Ferengi" in your database. But until that name is attributed to that picture you don't have a picture of a Ferengi in the database. Someone has to make that connection. Same with vocalizations, the pheremones they exude and any other attribute. The dots have to be connected.

    Facial recognition is useless without name already attached to the face. Again the dots have to be connected, first.
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the future, Starfleet will not be able to legally have Padds because of Apple's patent on "rectangular electronic devices with rounded corners."

    :)
     
  14. NCC-1701-B

    NCC-1701-B Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I didn't think starfleet used a binary system? as in Futures End Pt1, Kim says that when transferring data from Rain Robinsons computer, he says something along the lines of "it'll take some time to convert the data from their binary system"

    But then again that episode forgets the eugenics wars ever happened...
     
  15. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Doesn't Rain have a model of a DY-100 in her room?
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing says that the Eugenics War directly affected the United States. It certainly didn't seem to be affecting la ciudad de Los AĊ‹xeles.

    :)
     
  17. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So on the topic of Space Travel, a friend posted this on Facebook tonight:
    http://news.discovery.com/space/warp-drive-possible-nasa-tests-100yss-120917.html

    It looks like Warp seems more likely now, but the question is viable is Warp compared to Space Folding technology?

    I do have to admit, a lot of things in this thread I think could be retconed away --- except Warp. Without Warp Drive, it just doesn't feel like Trek. I could see Space Folding in the Star Trek universe and an explanation how they moved from one technology to another if Space Folding seems more viable.
     
  18. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Warp drive is just another name for a FTL drive. The full intricacies of how it works have remained vague onscreen, although later Trek shows have often mentioned "subspace fields" or "warp fields," but otherwise it's just a device to get our heroes where they need to go.

    In other sci-fi universes that have used fold engines, they tend to be near-instantaneous jumps from one part of the Galaxy to the other, but Trek has already played around with such means of FTL propulsion with transwarp and slipstream drives. In that sense, it's a case of Trek terminology winning over perhaps a more proper scientific term.
     
  19. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    Realistically, Star Trek isn't the way to address these things. At this point, without a pretty severe reboot, it's probably not going to happen.

    Some things that I think Star Trek could address:

    AI and the technological singularity
    Lots of super smart AI were shown, so why were they unable to create smarter AI? Ignoring silly predictions based on Moore's law, Data was smart enough that he should have been able to create a more stable version of Lal, who in turn could have made an even smarter being. If this wasn't a possibility, then they should address why it's not.

    Transhumanism
    Certainly this is addressed to a degree with Khan. But the supermen were only genetically engineered for strength and intelligence. Other things we should see would be drastic reduction of aging, hair loss, obesity, and disease. Another thing worth considering is the whole mechanical aspect. Someone mentioned Geordi should have been more the norm than the odd man out. There's certainly a larger possibility for cybernetic implants.

    Increased brain knowledge and devices that support this
    This might be part of the transhumanism, but there is research being done today to suggest brain activated computers. Whether it's something as clunky as a VISOR or more discreet like contacts with a HUD. People are going to need to have better access to their devices. And in general, there should be no secrets about the brain. I find it more likely that we'd figure out the brain before we'd be warping around the galaxy. Things like Picard having Irumodic Syndrome shouldn't really be an issue.

    Quantum Computing
    It's possible that Star Trek already uses this. They've always been purposefully vague when it came down to this sort of thing, but I don't think it would hurt to mention quantum computing, maybe even as something that's outdated. Things at least need to move away from the isolinear rods and such. Voyager at least had a start toward this with the gel packs.

    Synthetic organs
    If they're not using devices that actually enhance the organs, they should certainly be into synthesizing organs for surgery. Picard should never have had an artificial heart and blood should have been able to be easily created. And the surgical methods should be far cleaner or less invasive. Transporting a fetus was a pretty wild idea. You have to wonder what other medical applications there could be.


    There's probably a lot more that could be here.


    And in general there is a large problem with these that you might have already seen. A lot of these make existing stories not possible. While they may be opening up doors for new science fiction style stories, they're closing the door on us being able to identify with the characters.

    To be realistic, the future in a few hundred years should be scary and very foreign. As someone from 1712 would probably flip out if here today, we should probably flip out in 2312. That takes away from the general idea of Star Trek where everything is more or less the same as today, just with all sorts of cool technology and socialism that somehow works. The people who showed up in "The Neutral Zone" weren't really that terrified because the people were like those in the 80's just placed in a fantasy future setting.

    Audiences don't really care about what it ought to be or if it's really hard science fiction. Star Trek has always been very light, and they might throw some plausible sounding science words in to make it seem believable, but ultimately it's not the franchise that's ever going to care about such things.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The US wasn't involved in those wars, so the episode didn't ignore anything.
     

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