Saturday, October 23, 2010

Star Trek Technologies: Modern Day Equivalents

Geeks for generations have been inspired by the science-fiction technology from the Star Trek TV series and movies. So over the last forty plus years, they have been converting these technologies into real life practical devices and theories. Some of these technologies are used every day, others are in their infancy and others are in a theoretical stage.

Here is a brief update on where we stand today.
  • Communicators [Status: Practical]
    • Description: A personal communication device that worked over great distances
    • Closest modern technology: Cellphone
  • Tablet Computers [Status: Practical]
    • Description: A PADD (Personal Access Display Device) was a handheld tablet computer.
    • Closest modern technology: Tablet Computers
  • Warp Drives [Status: Theoretical]
    • Description: An engine with the ability to travel faster than the speed of light.
    • Closest modern technology:  Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Transporters [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: Converting matter into energy, moving it to a new location, and reassembling it.
    • Closest modern technology: Quantum Teleportation
  • Shields (aka force fields) [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: An energy barrier for protecting equipment and personnel.
    • Closest modern technology: Plasma window
  • Cloaking device [Status: Infancy]
    • Description: The ability to render an object invisible to optical and electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Closest modern technology: Metamaterial or Active camouflage
  • Holodeck [Status: Infancy]
    • Description: An enclosed room that used a mix of 3D holographic images and force fields to create an immersive virtual-reality experience, which included sounds and smells.
    • Closest modern technology: Virtual Reality
  • Phasers [Status: Infancy/Practical]
  • Replicator [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: A machine capable of creating (and recycling) objects.
    • Closest modern technology: 3D Printing
  • Tractor Beam [Status: Theoretical]
    • Description: An energy beam with the ability to attract one object to another from a distance.
    • Closest modern technology: n/a
  • Tricorder [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: A portable scientific device with a detachable hand-held scanner.
    • Closest modern technology:See the following real-life examples.
  • Dilithium Crystals [Status: Doesn't Exist]
    • Description: A fictional crystalline mineral that is used to regulate the anti-matter-powered warp drives that allow star-ships to travel faster than light.
    • Closest modern technology: n/a
  • Universal Translator [Status: Practical]
    • Description: Converts one spoken language to another.
    • Closest modern technology: Phraselator
  • Scalpel-Free Surgery [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: Noninvasive medical surgical techniques and protocols
    • Closest modern technology: Bloodless Surgery
  • Prosthetic Vision Attachment [Status: Infancy]
    • Description:  a device used by the blind to artificially provide them with a sense of sight
    • Closest modern technology:  VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement)
  • Communications Earpiece [Status: Practical]
    • Description: A wireless earpiece used the ship's communications officer.
    • Closest modern technology: Bluetooth Earpiece
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