Did you watch Star Trek back in the 60’s, the fictional account of the star ship ‘Enterprise’ in the 23rd century, boldly going where no man had gone before? Although it only ran for three seasons it has gained cult status and lives on 45 years later through reruns and 11 major motion pictures with another in the works. What a great show! Occasionally the special effects were a little hokey, but the antics of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty and the rest made the show work
And what about all the space age, futuristic gizmos they had? Remember the ‘communicators’ the crew used while on missions to contact and communicate with the ship? They looked like miniature walkie-talkies with a flip top. And what about the silver earpiece worn by Lieutenant Uhura, the ships chief communications officer while on the bridge? There was also the ‘tricorder’ carried by Dr. McCoy and used for sensor scanning, data analysis and recording data. And how about Captain Kirk’s big viewing screen on the bridge. Well, all of these gizmos that were once science fiction have become science fact.
Advancements in technology have made them a reality. For instance Uhura’s earpiece communicator has an uncanny resemblance to today’s modern blue-tooth wireless, earpieces and Kirk’s, big screen viewer is the prototype for today’s large, flat screen LCD, plasma and LED TV’s and the hand-held communicators certainly resemble the flip open cell phones of today. Hand-held diagnostic equipment similar to the “tricorder” are already on the market and can actually scan for magnetic fields, decibel levels, wireless network strength and more!
Do you remember Dr. McCoy’s cool medical diagnostic bed. Crew members could be checked out diagnosed using scanners and other space age technology. Well the bed is now a reality. A device called the ‘sickbay’ designed by a team of doctors and scientists has the capability of detecting early signs of disease using thermal imaging and an array of space age monitoring equipment. There is even a mass spectrometer that analyses a patients breath for bacteria and other signs of disease.! I tell you this is strait out of Dr. McCoy’s sick bay!
And what about the ‘transporter’? Remember how the ship had the ability to scan the planet surface or deep space and pinpoint the location of a crew member or an object, lock in on it and beam it back to the ship or beam it from the ship to any location they chose. Well we can’t transport or beam from place to place yet, but with modern GPS technology and imaging we can pinpoint people places or things quite accurately. And we saw it first on Star Trek.
There is so much more we saw on the program that’s become reality. Star Trek foresaw the convenience of voice activation, portable computer data storage, computer tablets and touch screens. Even the phaser is a reality. The Pentagon has developed several different models that can be used to knock out a target without harming it. It’s called the PEP – Pulsed Energy Projectile. The PEP project has been on hold for a number of years now, but other phaser projects are currently in development. Soon you may be seeing the Taser gun with it’s cumbersome wire leads, go the way of the revolver, police departments everywhere may be reaching for a phaser instead to drop their combative suspect instead. Better hope its set to ‘stun’.
Yes we owe a lot to Gene Roddenberry the creator of Star Trek, his writers and consultants. Together they came up with all these sc-fi gizmos for the 23rd century. Little did they realize they were actually peering into our near future. Inspiring creative minds with their technological ideas. Who knows what new technological development will be unveiled next. I really hope it’s the Transporter. Can you imagine? Instantaneous travel. What a wild ride that would be! I only hope it happens in my life time. I’d really love to say “Beam me up Scottie,” and really mean it!
Live Long and Prosper…