When did you first see a Star Trek episode or movie? For me it was the second movie I ever saw in a theater, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I was about seven years old and the only other movie I had seen in a theater was, An American Tail. As soon as I saw it, I was hooked, and a new Trekkie was born. The idea of a starship, engines pushed to the max, flinging itself in a tight orbit around the sun to exceed the speed of light and thereby travel back in time, made sense to me, even though the plot rode on a crazy idea that whales would determine the survival of earth. I loved the movie, and from that time hence, I have seen almost every episode, in almost every series of Star Trek. What amazes me is the attention to detail and the science behind the fiction. I crave the thoughts and ideas of traveling the stars and “…explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” That phrase has been a part, a piece of my life since the first time I heard it.
Star Trek has inspired so many technological developments, that I couldn’t even begin to list them all. People have literally spent their life dreaming of ways to make Star Trek Tech real. Think of that the next time a grocery door opens for you, you answer your cell phone, or you pick up your Ipad. A lot of the technology we use on a daily basis has some root or tie to Star Trek. Some of the new, and more recent developments seem like they came straight out of the screen! Let’s take a good look at a few of the technologies, that I find most inspiring:
Remember in Star Trek IV when McCoy and Scotty use the formula for transparent aluminum as a bribe to obtain the material they need for the whale tank? Well, I spent hours, as a kid, thinking of how this could be done, and what elements and alloys would work to retain that kind of strength. I guess that the answer was a palladium rich material. You can read more about it HERE.
From the bulky thing that Spock carried, to the fancy, folding versions in later series, all away teams must have a tricorder. What you may be interested to know, is that at least one person has dedicated much time and effort in creating working analogous versions of the fantasy device. For more info, take a look at his website: http://www.tricorderproject.org/index.html
There are a number of others who have been or are developing their own versions of working, tricorder/medical scanners. Here are a few:
These are some devices that are already here, but a new antenna could make those devices obsolete. It’s a nano-scale, terahertz band antenna.
Why is this significant? Each molecule and atom has a different energy signature in the terahertz range (it’s in the extreme infrared band), and if we can produce and receive this em wavelength efficiently, we can identify almost anything. “Most importantly, though, due to their nano scale, huge antennae arrays could be fashioned on a single silicon chip. Instead of the large millimeter wave scanners that you see in airports, or the massive medical imaging devices used in hospitals, the T-ray scanner of the future could be hand-held, just like a Star Trek tricorder.” …and just like the Tricorder, we could scan the molecular makeup of, just about, any substance. The utilitarian possibilities of this are phenomenal!
I love this concept because: I HATE NEEDLES! The wonderful people at MIT have worked on a jet injection device for needle free medicine delivery. “Until very recently, all jet injectors utilized force and pressure generating principles that progress injection in an uncontrolled manner with limited ability to regulate delivery volume and injection depth. In order to address these shortcomings, we have developed a controllable jet injection device, based on a custom high-stroke linear Lorentz-force motor that is feed-back controlled during the time-course of an injection.”
Read the article: http://www.gizmag.com/jet-injection-system-mit/22673/
Shine a fancy light and the wound closes up like it was never there? Yeah, right, that can’t happen…or can it? Professor Katzir has come up with a method that illustrates this possibility. It uses a laser on a wound that has been coated in a special gel, to create a strong water-tight bond that’s better than sutures.
The holodeck is an icon of Star Trek ever since the Next Generation made use of them. Now scientists in Tokyo are developing a holographic display that you can actually feel! The system makes use of acoustic pressure to create, the illusion of, feeling. While may not have the force fields developed to create objects that can interact with you, we are one step closer to the real thing. To learn more visit: http://www.siggraph.org/s2009/galleries_experiences/emerging_technologies/details/?type=etech&id=154
The Starship Enterprise
An engineer thinks we could build one in, approximately, 20 years. Although this first generation would not be faster-than-light capable, it would be a mobile station of enormous potential. You don’t believe me…click on the picture above to see his website.
This stuff is soon to become a reality. Come to think of it, I need to hurry up and finish my book or the fictional tech will be here before I’m done. 🙂 This is just the beginning; the following are links to some of the most amazing stuff yet, so be sure to check them out.