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Technology of Star Trek


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Star Treks
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Fiction:
Voyager PADD PADD - an acronym that stands for Personal Access Display Device, is a handheld computer (4" x 6") that allows a user to instantaneously access a database via a wireless connection.

Fact: 
There are actual devices that can do all the things above, but you cannot have access to data instantly.  They're either called Palms or Pocket PCs.  The most recent Palms have good color graphics, but the display, which is measured in dots per inch (dpi), is small.  Palms only have a 3 inch 160 x 160 dpi display.  Pocket PCs have a display of 4 inch 240 x 320 dpi. 

Update:
The Sony Clie has a screen resolution of 320 x 320 dpi and uses the Palm OS.  The Jornada Pocket PC uses a windows based OS.  There are other handhelds, but the two below are the best, in my opinion.  I own the Jornada Pocket PC.  It uses Compact Flash cards to add more storage memory.

The Sony Clie is the closest to a PADD like device.  It uses a proprietary Memory Stick that looks like the isolinear chips used on Star Trek: TNG and Voyager.

SonyT615Csilver
(31K)
Sony Clie with Palm OS

jornada_565b
(31K)
HP Jornada 565 Pocket PC 2002

Memory Stick 14K
(14K)
128MB Memory Stick

Isochips 9K
(9K)
Isolinear Chip


Other PADD designs:
There have been three different size PADDs in the Star Trek universe.  These include 4" x 6" 6" x 9" (about the size of a hard back book) and 16" x 20" They range in thickness from 1/2" to 3/4".

Next Generation PADD
(9K)
Next Generation PADD
4" x 6"

Engineering PADD
(4K)
Engineering PADD

First Contact PADD
(49K)
PADD form First Contact
6" x 9"


PADD Template Want to build your own PADD prop?  Just click on the image and right click on it and save.  To make the prop look similar to the PADD on Star Trek: Voyager you'll have to use sheet styrene.  Sheet styrene is usually sold in hobby stores.  The colors used on the show are: gray, metallic gray, red, light blue , or black.  (The template should be to scale, if printed from Paint Shop Pro.)  


More about the computers of Star Trek

incomingrs.JPG (15778 bytes)

This computer was seen on ST: Voyager.

This computer was on ST: First Contact.
It has the ability to auto tilt.

Note:
Every time there's a new Star Trek movie, there seems to be new technology to surprise us low techies from the 21st century.  For example, if you've seen the new Star Trek Nemesis movie, there is a new desktop that can raise and lower through the desk. (I want one of those!)


Fiction: 
drprometheus.JPG (28699 bytes) Dermal Regenerator  - a medical device that heals flesh with a precise beam of light and radiation

Fact: 
Though we do not have the ability to heal with light and radiation, there is a type of energy that can stimulate bone growth, although it has not been officially documented.


Fiction:
Holodeck - a room that allows the creation of holograms to be created in a three dimensional likeness.  With the power of forcefields, holograms have the ability to manipulate non-holographic objects.

Fact: 
Many advances have been made in virtual reality and computer graphics that are making it possible to create images that have a shocking resemblance to things in reality.  But forcefields are a long way from becoming possible.


Fiction:
df_sensorlogs.jpg (18630 bytes) LCARS - Library Computer Access and Retrieval System is the main operating system for the computers of starfleet.  

ODN - (Optical Data Network) 

Fact:
Today, computers have several different versions of operating systems.  The main ones are Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.


Fiction:
Transporter -
energy/matter conversion technology that allows the instantaneous transmission of any particle, living or non-living, from one place to another 

Fact:
Transporters do not exist; there is research being done with particles, but according to physics experts it would be nearly impossible to convert living matter into energy without harming the subject. 


Fiction:
replicator Food Replicator - similar to transporters, food replicators can synthesis food from raw organic material via matter/energy conversion 

Fact:
The synthesis of food from raw organic material is far from being a reality.  Replicators of non-living objects may come sooner; it is known as stereolithography.  With the power of computers combined with lasers, plastic parts can be created; eventually there will be metal parts.  

To learn more about stereolithography go to 3D Solid Imaging 

Note:
The stereolithography machine can make precise objects for just about anything.  This is excellent for prototypes, to see what an object will look like in full scale.  

What will really change the world is a metal stereolithography.  You could replicate car parts.  That would be awesome to just replicate parts for an engine.  If the computer has specs for the make and model number, it can be replicated.  You'd be able to order any car part for any car, or other machine.


Fiction:
good_ship14.jpg (8932 bytes)
Tricorder -
a device that can scan any type of known energy and physical measurements 

Fact:
Specific energy and physical measurements can be taken from just about anything; there has yet to be a single device that can do all the things that a tricorder can do.


Fiction:
Warp drive -
warp drive is what makes traveling great distances of space possible, warp travel is not traveling faster than the speed of light, rather, it is warping space around the ship at or above the speed of light  

Warp Nacelle Cutaway
sovereign warp nacelle
(caution big file! 124K)

Fact:
Theoretically, it might be possible to travel through space via warping space, but you would need a vast amount of power.  We haven't even made enough antimatter to send a space shuttle into orbit, which you would only need a paper clips worth, that's about a gram.


If you're interested in learning more about the technology from the 24th and/or 21st century, read these books:

stimwot.jpg (51225 bytes)Star Trek: 
I'm Working on That: 
A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact

by William Shatner, Chip Walter (Contributor)

 

This is a book about science and technology of Star Trek and reality.


Star Trek Encyclopedia The Star Trek Encyclopedia 
by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda

Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual
by Rick Sternbach (Contributor), Michael Okuda, Mike Okuda

The Computers of Star Trek
by Lois H. Gresh, Robert E. Weinberg


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