Growing up in the late 1960's to 1990’s, you would recognise Star Trek as one of the most influential sci-fi shows of the time, which is still continuing to be a part of today's sci-fi era. Concepts of the future seem to be coming true much sooner than Star Trek's writers could have imagined, even technologies from the original series, which ran on T.V. from1966 to 1969, have inspired all kinds of inventions that have become commonplace in the real world. Let's have a look at a few Star Trek gizmos that are now becoming part of our reality.
When your whizzing through endless star systems, encountering a vast range of different creatures and aliens, having a universal translator would be hugely important to your crew. In several episodes, we marvelled over the translator which decoded what aliens said in real-time and then later into the series it was integrated into the communication badges. Now, there's an app for that. Multiple translation apps can understand up to 71 languages, no Klingon yet though. However, their accuracy can be a game of Russian roulette, hopefully as time goes on we can improve the app's effectiveness, and maybe Klingon will be an included language.
Let's not start an argument between Star Wars and Star Trek about who envisioned the first big spaceship capable of using abeam of light to suck in a smaller one. Anyway, two New York University professors are taking the science fiction idea and making the tractor beam a reality, applying Newton's third law of motion to microscopic particles. It's only able to pull small objects over a range of 8 micro metres and won't be deployed on the next NASA mission, but it doesn't mean we aren't making progress.
Captain Kirk was pretty handy with a phaser, and he didn't always set his to stun when landing on a strange new planet. However, the United States has been using something similar to a "Phaser"since the first Iraq War known as the ‘dazzler’, a directed-energy weapon intended to temporarily blind or disorient its target with intense radiation. Target scan include sensors or human vision, and the devices are man-portable hence them being our version of the phaser even if they are a bit cumbersome.Obviously, the inventors of the dazzler have been trying to create a smaller version that would be easier to use during combat. Still, for the most part, we have well and truly replicated a pretty good version of the phaser.
“Beam me up Scotty” transcends Star Trek and is a regular travellers ultimate wish. No more irritating airport lines and wondering if you accidentally left your passport at home. Captain Kirk and the crew had their own transporter aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, appearing on other planets with a call to Scotty and a beam of particle shifting light. Progress has been made, we have achieved some teleportation of a small number of photons and atoms, but there are a lot of atoms in Spocks ears let alone our boss’s. The downside to teleporting is mankind have only managed to reproduce an exact copy of the other, to move an atom from point A to point B the original has to be destroyed. We consist of 15 trillion cells so we are quite a long way off, but only if we aren't too worried about destroying the original version. Hey, I would like a go over on a few things.
No more brain tingling swabbing for testingCovid19, no needles in the future? Sign me up! The U.S.S. Enterprise diagnosed patients by using a magic machine and then administered medicine through the skin using painless jet-injected Hypospray, thus no need for needles and no COVID19 nasal swabbing. Interestingly, a team at M.I.T. recently created a similar device which can deliver drugs through the skin at speeds of up to 340 meters per second and in under a millisecond. The amount and depth with which the drug can be administered can also be varied, and as far as the patient is concerned, they shouldn't feel anything other than the tip of the injector against their skin.Though it's not the first of its kind to be made it sure seems to be the better alternative especially if you're afraid of needles, it will undoubtedly make for a more comfortable trip to the doctors with your kids.
Even though it has been almost 55 years since the first episode of the original series aired, this sci-fi classic was undoubtedly ahead of its time. Featuring many futuristic technologies that have become a reality decades later. I wonder how Captain Kirk would have handled COVID19 self-isolation and quarantining his crew. Actually, with teleporting it may not have been a challenge, “beam me to the pub Scotty”.