Star Trek Tech Coming to Your Home

For those of us who grew up reading the Star Fleet Technical Manual and the Next Generation Technical Manual, the development of real world technology that works just like on Star Trek is always fascinating. One example of this is cell phones, which, in function and actual physical design, work just like Captain Kirk’s [pardon my language] ST:TOS communicator.

Other than space-warp propulsion, artificial gravity, and transporters, the designers of Star Trek typically try to predict everyday technology that is about 20 years away from real-world current technology. (Although researchers have successfully space-shifted a laser beam using quantum mechanics, and suspect being able to do so with a simple atom may not be far off, which gives us a basis for transporter technology.)

The voice-aware communications system employed on the Enterprise may be in your home’s future.

The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) is working on the problem with Social, Mobile, Audio Spaces, a project designed to create shared audio space so you can be in constant communication with people in other homes. Instead of making phone calls, you’ll have an always-on, hands-free connection that picks up your voice wherever you are. It’s jokingly referred to as “the God phone.”

Read the full article here at PC Magazine Online.

Now, if I were able to go into the 23rd century world of Star Trek, I already know how to make myself rich enough to be the envy of every Ferengi. I’d simply patent a nonexploding control console for use on starships …

4 Replies to “Star Trek Tech Coming to Your Home”

  1. It has always been a dream of mine to be able to go back in time (I really don’t want to know the future ahead of time, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. I’ll keep the future in my imagination, thank you.) and not interact, but just be able to see what things looked like and sounded like and smelled like. I know we tend to gloss over the past. The “olden days” of our memories/imaginations always seem better. (I’ve actually read primary historic texts from the Ancient Greeks to the Middle Ages proclaiming the same thing! It must be a “human” tendancy.) I had read about the quantum physics type of teleportation…sounded like it had a few kinks in volunteers yet.

    On the other hand, have you ever looked at how many things Star Trek, or any Sci Fi, is WRONG? I think we tend to notice any similarities, but not the opposite. I remember when 1984 arrived. I was nervous all year!

  2. If given the choice between going back in time 500 years, or forward in time 500 years, I’d choose to go forward.

    I have several reasons for this. One is that I’d be extremely eager to find out which of the “speculative fiction” scenarios actually played out in the next 500 years. Would we have solved the problem of cheap, nonpolluting energy (and therefore the key to environmental recovery), with flying cars, a truly global inexpensive transport system, moonbases, and Mars on its way to terraforming? Or would we come to a new dark age, with a decimated population, perhaps the victims of bioterrorism?

    If I were forced to survive and make a living in a world before 1950, I don’t think I could do it. My skills are all late 20th- and early 21st-century technology based, and I couldn’t possibly make it in a preindustrial or even early-industrial society. I don’t know how to hunt, or plant, or do anything else that might have been useful long ago. I’m not sure I even have the historical knowledge to make money off predicting the future.

    It is amazing how much science fiction has gotten wrong. One of the most striking failures is the prediction of microcomputers and their myriad applications, as well as global computer networks. The only story I know of that deals with both is “A Logic Named Joe,” which I heard as an “X Minus One” radio adaptation.

    And I could go on and on about what’s wrong with Star Trek. Perhaps the most important error is that they’ve combined New Age spiritualism with humanism. Believing in God is something they put all grew out of, but any other religion—including ancestor worship and worshiping technological artifacts—is valid.

  3. I guess the difference between us is that I’m more the historian and you’re the “tech” guy. I could see your interest in what we will do with it. You made a good point about Star Trek. I often point out worldview to my SS class in an attempt to get them to pay attention to the message, point of view being promoted in what they watch/read. I love Sci Fi, but, for example, I know Star Wars has an Eastern/The Force p.o.v. I think we just need to be more congnizant of underlying views of what we expose ourselves to. You can really get some good discerning discussions going with kids old enough to reason.

    When our family was in DC once they had a special Star Trek exhibit at the Air & Space Museum. It was really something to see the props close up!! Made mostly out of blocks of wood and plywood, yet it all looked so convincing on TV. What fun!

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