Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Star Trek: A Surprisingly Accurate Vision

Much of the supposedly impossible technology shown in the Star Trek franchise is currently being used by the general population or is being developed at a much swifter rate than the writers of the show could ever have imagined. The technology depicted is often shown to be tools and equipment that can drastically improve the life of all people.

A tricorder is depicted in the shows and movies as a multi function tool, often used for scanning and collecting information from a research perspective which in turn can be used for diagnosing medical issues. An organisation called The Tricorder Project has developed two versions of the device which has been highly inspired by the look of the Star Trek version. These devices provide electromagnetic, atmospheric and various spacial awareness sensors that offer various scanning opportunities. A third and fourth device is currently being worked on by The Tricorder Project.

Researches at Purdue University have also worked on a tricorder inspired device. It is an extremely fast, portable chemical analysis device that includes a miniature mass-spectrometer and a system called DESI, a ‘Desorption ElectroSpray Ionization’. The system has been able to analyze clothes and food. DESI has also managed to detect the presence of cocaine on a bank note.

Replicators are shown as a device that materialized food and other smaller objects seemingly out of thin air. A lot of background information has been given on them, but an exact replicator replica is still a long way off. Modern technology however, has shown a device that can use 3D printing devices to print food products. With swiftly decreasing prices of 3D printers for both food and other objects, replicators are looking more and more realistic.

The Universal Translator, used all throughout the franchise, is a device used to instantly translate any known language into the native language of the user. The device is incredibly similar to translator programs such as Google Translate. Other translation programs are readily available on computers, tablets and phones, making it easier break language barriers and connect with people all over the world.

Tablet-like devices, called the PADD, are used in the Star Trek universe. The PADD is used for accessing information, collecting information and a variety of other work and leisure based functions. The PADD featured a large touchscreen and minimal buttons, much like the variety of tablets we have today. Internet connected tablets have similar abilities to the original PADD, as well as containing even more information and functions.

Finally, voice responsive technology. On Star Trek, the computer is a device that “stored, organized, and displayed information, calculated data, and processed commands input by sentient users”. The computers processed basic and advanced functions that assisted in the running of large starships, possessed extensive information, much like the internet, and responded verbally to any command or query inputted verbally by users. Very similar, though not as extensive technology exists today in voice command technology, available on many devices such as phones, tablets and personal computers. Such technology includes Apple’s Siri program, which allows the user to verbally control many functions on their phones or other capable devices. A more recently released program by Windows, called Cortana has very similar capabilities.

Although science fiction can be criticized as highly illogical, we have to give credit to Star Trek for being realistic about technological advances in society. Science fiction can show a positive view for the future and inspire thousands of people to work towards a common goal of a happy future for all people (and aliens!).




3 comments on “Star Trek: A Surprisingly Accurate Vision

  1. Adam
    April 14, 2016

    I love this topic! It is very interesting how science takes ideas from science fiction and sometimes creates reality.

    I think you opening paragraph could be made a little more personal and identify some of the things you will be talking about. You are obviously passionate about science and sci-fi so make a connection with the reader by making this point in your first sentence or two.

    During the introduction it would be good to point out some of the technologies that you will be discussing to draw the reader in, for instance people might be shocked to know that Star Trek basically predicted tablets or that people are working on tricoders. Give them a taste and then expand further in guts of the blog.


    • natashagigliotti
      May 8, 2016

      This is a really interesting topic. To see how far science has come today, with actually constructing gadgets that back in the days were ideas considered so far fetched that they were used in a Sci-Fi television series.
      I really liked how you constructed your blog, with short concise paragraphs focusing on just one gadget not jumping around all over the place which made this smooth and easy to read. You clearly have a great passion for all things sci-fi and just how far science has come today.
      Perhaps you could mention just how passionate you are about the sci-fi and use something anecdotal to connect with the reader.
      But all in all it was really fascinating to read just how much of the TV series has come out into real life. I’m sure Spock would be impressed. (even though he has no emotion :’D)


  2. elenagazis
    May 9, 2016

    As my mother always says, what you see on television about the future will eventually come true. Well she may have a point there, the shows she grew up watching as a child showed advances in technology that would one day be invented for everyday uses. It makes you wonder whether or not we should trust what we see on television as just science-fiction, with the conspiracy theories that NASA is behind everything we watch and see. As proved that the advances in technology were predicted in shows like Star Trek then maybe the movies about aliens are true. Do you think that Alien do exist than? You could easily argue the case regarding all the drama with the millennium hype. The world didn’t end; it wasn’t the start of the apocalypse like 1990 films suggested and the computers went on to function normally. So where do you stand on the idea that movies and television are just a form of entertainment and not a looking glass into our technology’s future.

    The Y2K Disaster That Never Was. 2016.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on April 7, 2016 by in Burwood - Thursday 2pm, Uncategorized.

Deakin Authors

%d bloggers like this: