Star Trek is the only show I know that predicted most of the technology that we have today. In some way, the Star Trek series has turned science fiction in to science fact.
There are a couple of gadgets and gizmos that has been introduced by Star Trek 43 years ago. Most of them are so common today, that we forget that decades before, the technology was just a figment of the writer’s imagination.
1. The PADD
When captain Kirk enters his daily log on the ship’s computer, he uses an electronic notebook called the PADD (Personal Access Display Device). It is a handheld computer interface that allows the user to access the ship’s computer anywhere.
January 27, 2010 was the date when Apple released their media consumption device called the iPad. The iPad, is sort of like a tablet that allows the user to download periodicals, music, movies and books.
Apple’s iPad is not as powerful as the PADD, but as the chips become cheaper and smaller, we are getting closer to perfecting this kind of mobile media device.
2. The Universal Translator
You might be wondering how the hell did those alien from Star Trek learn how to speak human language (English). Well, they didn’t. There is a device on Star Trek that’s called the Universal Translator. As you can see from the left picture, Commander Spock is holding a weird device. This weird device allows Spock to communicate to alien species with ease. The device recognizes speech patterns and translate it to any language that the user can understand.
Recently, Google has announced a product that will provide real time voice translation.
According to Times Online, Google is developing a speech-to-speech automated translator for Android phones. It’s essentially a combination of two of Google’s existing technologies; its online universal translator service, Google Translate, and its voice recognition system.
Google plans to make its Babel Fish a lot like a human translator; the software would analyze chunks of speech, and translate them in their entirety rather than translating word for word. Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services, claims the technology could go live in a couple of years. “Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on. If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently,” he says.
3. The Hypospay
Injecting people with steel needles is just barbaric and painful. In Star Trek, doctors use a device called hypospray.
This device allows the doctor to pass medicine through the skin painlessly. In some Star Trek series, hyposprays can be programmed to discharge any medicine that the doctor needs to treat a patient.
Today, we have the Jet Injectors. A jet injector is a type of medical injecting syringe that uses a high-pressure narrow jet of the injection liquid instead of a hypodermic needle to penetrate the epidermis, the purpose being to reduce the pain associated with needle injection. It is powered by compressed air or gas, either by a pressure hose from a large cylinder, or from a built-in gas cartridge or small cylinder. Some are multi-shot, and some are one-shot.
4. The Communicator
Star Trek is not Star Trek without those nifty communicators. Captain Kirk uses his mobile device to contact his shipmates to give them update about his current situation while he is on an away mission.
Today, cellular phones continues to be a vital part of our daily lives. We use our mobile device to call someone, send text messages, and surf the internet.
The fast paced advancement of our mobile technology is a testament that the star trek era of communication is not that far away.
5. Automatic Sliding Doors
And finally, the starship enterprise has introduced us to the concept of automatic sliding doors.
Today, automatic sliding doors are everywhere. You can find them in super markets, office buildings, and schools.
Thanks to the influence of Star Trek, we now have all these technologies to enjoy. Four decades ago, people were just watching these things on their black and white TV. Now, we are experiencing some of 24th century’s finest technology.