Star Trek Technology Coming To Life

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by momo, May 18, 2010.

  1. momo

    momo Cadet Newbie

    May 18, 2010
    I was thinking about what examples of Star Trek technology coming to life there are out there.

    One good example is NASA's ion propulsion being used to visit Ceres and Vesta, asteroids, in 2015. A first in terms of orbiting and use of ion propulsion. In fact, the lead researcher first heard the term ion propulsion on star trek!

    There's an article about it at Space Geographic.

    Other examples out there anyone?
  2. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

    May 5, 2010
    haven't they already sent up a spacecraft with ion propulsion back in the 90's?

    EDIT: yup they did.
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    Thread, one of us is in the wrong forum.

    On topic, I am bewildered (still) at all the things my phone can do, as well as the PADD-like qualities (only better!) of my eBook reader.

    I can't wait for the animated paper from Firefly and STXI. That'll be awesome.
  4. momo

    momo Cadet Newbie

    May 18, 2010
    oops. should have put this in tech.
    my bad.
  5. LightningStorm

    LightningStorm The Borg King Commodore

    Aug 30, 2004
    Kansas City
    Off to Tech you go.
  6. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 28, 2004
    The Cell Phone was basically a successful attempt at replicating Kirk's flip communicator.

    The Ion Drive also seems to be based on Star Trek's Impulse Engines.

    The iPhone (and PDAs in general, as well as Tablet PCs) is a direct attempt to copy the PADD style system in TNG.

    Bluetooth headsets clearly are copying the communicator pieces worn by Uhura and occasionally Spock.

    Medical Imaging tech like CAT scans and MRI are trying to achieve what the Medical Tricorder can do.

    I think in general, Star Trek TOS and TNG have heavily influenced the direction of what technology does and even what it looks like.

    I gotta hand it to the prop designers, they came up with radical ideas that left real scientists and engineers scrambling to make them a reality.
  7. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    The difference is that today's cellphones require a widespread infrastructure of microwave relay towers and/or satellites. And so far, we don't have a cellphone that can communicate directly with a spacecraft in orbit.

    Hospital beds today have compact monitors that display the patient's heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. But sensors still have to be physically attached to the patient's body. We've a way to go before we have diagnostic medical scanners like the ones in Star Trek.
  8. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 28, 2004
    Well you are correct, we are definitely ways off from having the "actual" trek tech. All efforts so far have achieved primitive forms of the advanced trek tech we see.

    I mean, I can't even remember what, if any type of energy was used to communicate with a spacecraft in orbit from a button communicator. But the communicators must have some serious battery power, because Worf was able to use 2 of them as a power source for a personal shield that lasted about 10 seconds.

    As for the Tricorder, well, even though there's push for portable scanning devices like that, well, if at all they will ever be possible, we are still quite a bit away from such devices.
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Sep 4, 2008
    Just around the bend.
    Impulse engines are NOT Ion Drives and have never been described and/or insinuated as such.
  10. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

    Apr 10, 2005
    Tricorders: The Wikipedia article has quite a list of "real tricorders" developed so far.

    Replicators: Stereolithography and selective laser sintering have created a market in fast prototyping (creating physical objects from 3D computer image files) and have undergone a lot of development already. NASA will be testing a new type on the ISS that doesn't require gravity. I have a Panasonic bread machine, which can make various bakery products. The first one hit the market before TNG first aired.

    LCARS: I have interactive LCARS displays in my house. So do lots of people.
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    How much of this is "Star Trek technology", though? And how much is generic scifi stuff instead, something familiar from the 1930s already?

    Portable communications devices would have been a staple long before Trek came along. It's just unfortunate IMHO that today's phones are lumps in your hand, ST style, rather than wrist devices, Dick Tracy style, or headsets, virtually every other scifi comic style.

    The vaguely computerized stylus and pad appear in many scifi tomes, too. The TNG PADD wasn't so much a forerunner or a prediction as it was an updating of the TOS pad style to match already existing technologies...

    As for compact handheld sensors, it's a bit funny how they always appear to be the same, slightly-too-large-for-comfort, not-quite-handheld size in all Trek eras (although we can assume their capabilities increase as centuries go by). Why not something that's comfortable and unobtrusive even if slightly less capable - i.e. the wristwatch approach again?

    Indeed, an ion drive was suggested to be something really exotic for our Trek heroes in "Spock's Brain"... Although that was probably a Trek ion drive, unrelated to the real-world thing. :vulcan:

    Timo Saloniemi
  12. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Shatner did a documentary on the subject. I think it was called, 'How William Shatner changed the world' - lol - as a tongue in cheek nod to his reputed ego, although I might be misremembering that. Apparently a lot of scientists were indeed inspired to produce technology that they'd seen on Star Trek.
  13. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

    Sep 19, 2005
    Cubicle Hell
    I know there is a lot of talk about the communicator/cellphone comparison. I don't see it (other than wireless devices used for communication). I always equated the communicator with walkie-talkies or military field radios. If you look at these items in the time period that TOS was flimed, you see that they required a person carrying a backpack full or radio equipment to allow communication with HQ, air support, etc. See Forrest Gump, Platton, or any other Vietnam era movie for an example.

    Just my $0.02.