Top 5 Coolest Star Trek Gadgets That Exist In Real Life
Star Trek has been instrumental in inspiring many modern technological wonders. Here are some of the most impressive predictions the show made.
Scientists have been working to create viable teleportation for decades ? such technology would make transport of goods and even people across vast distances far easier. Throughout this time, whenever the subject of teleportation comes up, it?s difficult to avoid thinking of the portrayal of the technology in Star Trek.
While human teleportation is still a long way from being feasible, scientists are making progress on the concept. Many different versions of teleportation have been explored ? one key development is known as quantum teleportation, which involves sending information regarding atomic locations between two points. While the experiments in quantum teleportation may well lead to the teleportation of larger objects in future, it also goes a long way to solving another technological challenge from Star Trek: the ability to communicate across vast distances instantaneously ? radio waves are only capable of travelling at the speed of sound, after all, and are therefore unhelpful for communicating across the vast depths of space.
For a more practical form of teleportation, one German company has proposed an alternative solution: a 3D printer which scans an object and produces an exact replica at another location. This could also prove the first steps towards being able to instantaneously transport items across vast distances, although for obvious reasons it?s hardly ready for human use just yet.
The concept of a replicator ? a device that can produce any object instantly from a digital blueprint ? is one that fits right in with the advanced near-magic technology of the Star Trek universe. In creating such a device for the show, it wasn?t necessary to think too hard about the scientific logic behind the replicator, and the convenient macguffin features as a central element of several Next Generation episodes.
In reality, though, replicators are becoming a more affordable item every day, as the price of 3D printers drops dramatically. While 3D printers lack many of the capabilities of Star Trek?s replicators ? for example, most printers can?t produce food and can only use plastic as a building material ? there is a wealth of practical applications for the device.
In particular, it?s expected that as 3D printers become more widely accessible, repair costs for devices such as washing machines will drop, as customers will be able to download replacement parts directly to their 3D printers, saving a lot of time and hassle to keep household machines running smoothly.
3. Tablet Computers
When Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted years after the original series, a concerted effort was made to make the technology of the new show stand out from its predecessor. Among the new additions to Star Trek?s technological capabilities is the concept of a flat, touchscreen computer device, no thicker than a magazine, but with significant computing power. At the time, such devices were only possible in the most distant of science fiction dramas, and it was hard to imagine a near future where such machines could be possible.
The first commercially successful tablet computer of any mainstream popularity, the iPad, debuted six years ago in 2010. In the time since then, modern life has seen the introduction of a variety of tablet computer devices, ranging from the laughably cheap to the impressively sophisticated. It?s safe to say that this is one prediction that Star Trek not only got right, but if anything underestimated just how prevalent touchscreen computers would become in the near future.
The weapons in Star Trek don?t rely on bullets or other projectiles ? instead, phasers shoot bolts of energy which can be set to either cause serious damage to an opponent, or simply stun them for a short time, thereby being useful in situations where the user doesn?t want to kill their target.
Real-world alternatives to phasers, which use electric energy to incapacitate enemies have been in use since the 1970s ? the most common brand name for these devices is the Taser, which, much like the stun setting of phasers in Star Trek, generally won?t do permanent damage to people that the device is used on.
While Tasers don?t quite have the science fiction sheen that Star Trek phasers do on the show, the devices work on a similar principle, and advancements are being made to the technology all the time to make them more effective and formidable for use against a variety of opponents.
5. Bionic Eyes
Star Trek: The Next Generation features a character called Geordi La Forge, who is blind but is able to see through the use of a special visor that provides a wealth of information to his brain about the various energy waves which surround him. In later appearances in Star Trek, the character is instead shown with cybernetic eyes which have replaced his own and which provide him with a similar view of energy waves around him.
The technology required to bypass the human eye and provide a measure of sight to the blind has existed for a while, although it?s still very much in its infancy. As far back as 2006, scientists were using cameras which connect to the user?s brain to provide limited sight to some blind patients. Various studies by major universities are currently ongoing to produce glasses and other peripherals which can completely restore sight to the blind.