8 Star Trek Gadgets that are no longer fiction

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Sector 7, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  2. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The "Tricorder" claim is a really weak one. The sensors on it are child's play compared to what the Star Trek tricorders can do.

    However, our representation of memory is much better. A mini SD card can hold up to 32Gb of data, no bigger than a thumb nail. In TOS, the memory cards were about the size of a cassette tape. Also, USB drives still being smaller than any of the memory sticks we've seen on Star Trek have now reached 1Tb in maximum capacity. I don't know what the maximum capable storage was for Star Trek memory sticks, but... based on the kind of data passed around, we could be doing better.

    It also appears that we've got better synthetic textiles. The uniforms we see in Star Trek tend to rip and tear much more easily.
     
  3. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    The original mobile phone was designed based on the Star Trek TOS communicator. The PADD would probably be pretty redundant by the 23rd century, given that the iPAD will be as thin as a wafer in a few years and with an incredible level of functionality.
     
  4. scotpens

    scotpens scotpens Premium Member

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    The GPS claim is a pretty weak one. The Enterprise's sensors could detect artifacts, scan for lifeforms ranging from bacteria to humans, and analyze a planet's geology and atmospheric composition -- all from orbit without needing a network of satellites.

    As for diagnostic beds, we still don't have a medical device than can read and display vital signs without having anything physically attached to the patient's body. Maybe in a few more years . . .

    The first flip phone, maybe, but not the first mobile phone. Cellphones 25 years ago were BIG sumbitches.

    [​IMG]

    And there were mobile phones before cellular technology, but they were expensive and didn't work all that well.

    By the early 2000s, flip-open cellphones were actually smaller than the original Star Trek communicator.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They already mentioned voice commands but ...

    I started visiting a friend at work in her new building this part spring, the elevators have voice recognition for the sight impaired. It was the third or fourth time I used it, casually saying "twelfth floor" that I realized I was in a turbolift.

    Welcome to the future.
     
  6. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A thought I had recentally is that in some aspects Treknology is in fact more pirmitive than what we got today. Take for example, the smart phone. If Starfleet officers carried those around they'd have a communicator, tricorder, and computer padd all in one. Surveying alien planet? There's an app for that. Trying to prevent a warp core breach? There's an app for that.
     
  7. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral In Memoriam

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    Did it move sideways?
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Which is no trivial feature. Lifts today are virtually useless in skyscrapers because each of them needs its own shaft, complete with kilometer upon kilometer of extremely heavy cabling. If one were to build a true turbolift, a cabin that can move on its own and steer past fellow cabs, it would be an immense leap in construction. No more "sky lobbies" and separate express and local elevators. No more waiting, really. And a skyscraper could be 95% useful room, instead of the about 60% left over from elevator systems nowadays.

    Which probably means the TOS card is the superior product. A mini SD is about the most user-hostile type of portable memory storage imaginable - thumbnails are not items to be carried and stored, but to be discarded as garbage. Teeny weeny pieces of junk are difficult to manipulate, always get lost, and cannot hold any sort of content information visible to the user until plugged in.

    As for flip phones, the current ones are the size of continents! They would be useless without massive powerplants, vast networks of relay towers and centralized computing centers that create as much excess heat as the average paper mill. In contrast, the Trek device appears to be a self-contained "satellite phone" capable of contacting a fellow communicator or a distant starship without the need for relays of any sort. We're still decades away from the TOS "achievement" - and probably centuries, if we consider that there is no demand for anybody to develop the TOS technology since we already have this continent-sized variant.

    Similarly, GPS relies on thousands of tons of distributed hardware to achieve what TOS apparently does with a single doodad aboard a starship. No real comparison there.

    It's like arguing that Julius Caesar already had the internet because he could send interactive messages from Rome to Britain (the difference between horses on cobblestones and wave packets in optical waveguides being a trivial nuance)... We don't even have the capability, let alone the compactness of execution, for most of the items in the list.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    It's not a very fair comparison, since most Starfleet communication is done via subspace, which doesn't require the use of relay towers. I tend to think of the communicators as advanced walkie talkies. They are connected locally to each other and the ship, but they can also connect to other networks should they be in locations like Starfleet Command, etc.

    Maybe not, but there are many things that we have innovated that don't seem to exist within the Star Trek universe. The first of which would be touch screen display which is absent from TOS (give that it was the 1960's) and some of the movies. Virtual display, if it continues to advance at the current rate, would be considerably more advanced than anything seen in Star Trek by that point in time. I could imagine neural interface (a virtual display seen from one's eyes but all in one's head) being such an example of virtual display technology.

    We have the Internet and that is a very important factor missing from Star Trek. Sure, we could argue that WWIII put a stop to global information sharing, but for something so useful I cannot imagine them giving up on it completely. If the Internet continues to evolve, by the 23rd century it could be an extension of our reality. Using the neural interface technology, people could literally enter a different, non-linear reality where data sharing and information can be artificially experienced. A holodeck perhaps, but one that's more like The Matrix than a room filled with holoemitters.
     
  10. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Remote control and smaller computer....and touched screen.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps we could retitle this as "8 Star Trek Gadgets that will not be invented any time soon, if ever, because we have alternative technologies and solutions already"?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To be sure, that's a silly statement. Flip phones are clearly not the size of continents since they can fit in the palm of one's hand.

    Perhaps what you mean to say is that the infrastructure necessary for them to operate successfully is the size of continents, which would be more accurate.

    To be sure, flip phones are quite plainly not the size of continents. Unless I'm carrying around something of comparable size to North America or Australia in the pocket of my jeans.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nope, the infrastructure to operate them at all is of that minimum size. The handheld gadget has no functionality without said infrastructure, unless you count the use as a cute hand puppet that looks vaguely like a crocodile head or seashell.

    It's not just a comparison between apples and oranges, it's a comparison between apples and orchards complete with irrigation systems.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I see.

    So using your apples and orchard analogy versus your mobile phone and continental-sized infrastructure statement, an apple is, to be sure, the size of an orchard and a mobile phone is the size of a continent?

    Still seems a little silly to be sure.
     
  15. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    So like a walkie talkie then?
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yup. Although again, the comparison is extremely silly, just like every item in that original article: a walkie talkie is to the TOS communicator what a Lilienthal glider is to the space shuttle.

    (Also, Sandoval, are you for real?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As silly as stating a flip phone is the size of a continent? Now that was silly.
     
  18. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I think Timo wants it both ways. The ST communicators had the broadcast functionality of our telephone network systems but with the single unit functionality of a hand-held transciever. Therefore, the ST communicators either aren't that innovative or were very predictive of the future.
     
  19. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have no problem accepting that a modern day mobile phone requires a vast network of broadcast towers and so on in order to function, and that a communicator as depicted is far more powerful in as much as it is able to connect an operator to an orbiting starship many thousands of kilometres away with no network infrastructure.

    The bit I found rather inexplicable was the 'cellphones are the same size as a continent' statement which was, to put it mildly rather inaccurate.
     
  20. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Supposedly, the interconnected world wide telecommunications system is the largest machine on the planet.

    The communicator in more a walkie-talkie/radio, than it is a "cellphone."

    :)