“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
Begins the most famous explanation of a TV series. Almost as famous as “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away” from Star Wars.
Star Trek the Original series, was launched in 1966 - yes last century, and soon became a hot favourite. The first crew of the Star Trek was multi cultural, offered positive role models, and most importantly showed a possible future with great technology. There were multiple series and films set in the Star Trek universe. And, right now it is a new series of films in a reimagined universe.
Elon Musk, in fact, has gone on record to say how Star Trek inspired Space X
Not just Musk, a generation of scientists and inventors were fascinated by the future world imagined by Star Trek, and created things, that are today in use.
Here are 3 major inventions that were inspired by Star Trek, that are in use
The Food Replicator in Star Trek was the device that would create anything (non living). Push a few buttons, and voila, the thing would appear. Usually food, or clothes. It was also used for recycling. Today, the 3D printer, does pretty much the same thing. While the 3D printer is in it’s early stages of development, and is usually a single use device, it is hoped that in the next few decades, the 3D printer can do pretty much what the replicator did.
The Communicator on Star Trek was a communication technology that allowed crew members to talk to each other. In the 1966 series, the crew carried flip communicators.
(star trek memorabilia, available here)
By the time they launched Star Trek: Next Generation, the communicators were no longer carried by hand, but were a part of the uniform.
The first mobiles were inspired by the early communicator. And, recently inventors figured out a way of putting communication devices on clothes. It is now being tested in hospitals in the USA
The Tricorder was a device used by Dr McCoy in the original series (and other doctors in later series) to scan a crew member for injuries, and treat them without surgery. This is now being tested out at various universities in the USA
Engineers at the University of Washington are testing a device that uses multiple lenses to focus high-intensity ultrasound beams at a particular spot inside the body on the patient’s lungs. Focusing the ultrasound beams, in a process similar to focusing sunlight with a magnifying glass, creates a tiny but extremely hot spot about the size and shape of a grain of rice. The rays heat the blood cells until they form a seal. Meanwhile the tissue between the device and the spot being treated does not get hot, as it would with a laser beam, researchers said in a statement.
High-intensity focused ultrasound promises “bloodless surgery” with no scalpels or sutures. Doctors would pass a sensor over the patient and use invisible rays to heal the wound.
Today is Star Trek Day - a day fans of star trek, celebrate the series and the impact it has had on their lives. Usually because of the positive message. On this day, it is good to look at all the scientific, and engineering inventions that were made possible by this series.