Trek of the future | The spokesperson-magazine

Here’s a look at the technological and sociological advancements predicted – some with precision and some less – by the 55-year-old “Star Trek” TV and movie franchise.

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COMMUNICATORS

SO: It was so cool in 1966 to see Captain James T. Kirk pull out his flip-flop communicator to contact his ship, hundreds of miles away. Oh, man. If we could only have one …

NOW: Flip-top cellphones – smaller, sleeker, and even more powerful than Kirk’s gadget – are now considered old-fashioned. Think how many photos of his green girlfriends Kirk could store on a smartphone.

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VIEW SCREENS

SO: Company captains use a huge visualization screen at the front of the command bridge to see what’s going on outside the ship, to review data and tactical diagrams, and to videoconference with others. people.

NOW: Widescreen LED TVs are available in sizes over 100 inches wide and 8K resolution, for incredible video experiences. It’s a good thing Kirk doesn’t have Netflix or has never done a job.

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SHELVES

SO: Captain Kirk was often given a small, book-like device with which to read data or sign an order or report. Later, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew used even smaller and thinner models which they called “padds”.

NOW: The similarity between the Star Trek padd and modern tablets like the iPad, Galaxy, Surface and Kindle is striking. However, neither Kirk nor Picard needed unlimited data plans.

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UNIVERSAL TRANSLATORS

SO: Kirk used a device capable of converting any foreign language into English. This would be very handy to avoid the interstellar conflicts that could arise from misunderstood phrases like “pass the sauce please”.

NOW: Google says Google Translate now works in 109 languages ​​”by detecting patterns in documents that have already been translated” and then making “intelligent guesses” to translate new text.

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HOLODECKS

SO: Picard and his team on “The Next Generation” have spent far too much time enjoying their holographic simulator. However, the device still lost track of its security protocols and put users at risk. Obviously, OSHA did not exist in the 24th century.

NOW: Today, virtual reality labs and goggle-style headsets are used to simulate objects and allow a user to “move” around a 3D image to view it from all angles. Of course, creating virtual trees, grass, furniture, and virtual humans that feel like flesh and blood would be a whole different thing.

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TRANSPARENT ALUMINUM

SO: Going back in time in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”, Scotty discovers that he needs a large piece of clear aluminum, which had not been invented in 1986. So he slips the formula into it. man that history told him had created it and – lo and behold – an instant retaining wall for two humpback whales.

NOW: It doesn’t quite exist yet, but we are close. Clear aluminum armor, or aluminum oxynitride (ALON) has been in development for years. In particular, the Air Force is interested in possibly using a future form of ALON in aircraft windows and canopies.

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M-CLASS PLANETS

SO: The producers of “Star Trek” came up with the idea of ​​an “M-class planet”: one with conditions approaching those of Earth. This saved a lot of money on expensive sets, bulky space suit costumes, and shoots in exotic locations.

NOW: NASA has listed more than 60 planets, each in the “habitable zone” of its respective star system – the range of a star in which a planet containing vital water could be found. Closer, the water boils; further, the water could freeze.

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REDUCTION OF MEASURES

SO: In one episode, Starfleet tests a computer with the goal of using it to replace the Captain. Kirk is in a cold sweat … until the M-5 melts and kills several hundred bystanders. One wonders what kind of liability insurance coverage Starfleet can afford …

NOW: Computer algorithms have replaced humans – “live chat” online help and phone call screening, for example. And don’t forget Alexa and Siri. There is even software that can take trendy numbers and names and generate sports newspaper articles.

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REPLICATORS

SO: Various incarnations of the Starship Enterprise have included a replicator to create tools, uniforms, food – really, anything the crew needed for work or play.

NOW: Today’s 3D printing technology uses materials like polymers or resins to build almost anything into a 3D shape. This includes models, furniture, artificial limbs and body parts, and even guns. Scientists also hope to someday create complex pharmaceuticals with this technology, the Guardian reports.

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CARRIERS

SO: Rather than boarding a bulky shuttle to visit a planet, Kirk and his crew stand in a teleportation chamber and, with a special effects flash, are “transmitted” to the surface of a planet. However, carriers were constantly breaking down.

NOW: Scientists have sent “messages” encoded in beams of light for a few meters, but they cannot teleport anything with real mass. If they could, they would probably have to use a chamber-to-chamber system – like Jeff Goldblum used in “The Fly”.

Sources: The Guardian, How Stuff Works, Wired, Google, MSNBC, Space.com, NASA

ALL IMAGES: PARAMOUNT IMAGES

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