It’s one of the most iconic lines in television history. The transporter dematerialises a human body and sends it from one point to another, somehow breaking down atoms and molecules and transmitting them through space. All Captain Kirk had to do was put in a call through his communicator. The truth is, although that transporter has never been invented, it doesn’t mean that the ideas behind the Star Trek inventions aren’t plausible.
Everyone now carries a communicator; we just know them as mobiles. The creators of Star Trek were definitely ahead of their time as you would be hard pushed to find someone without a mobile these days. We may not wear our communicators like a fancy broach, however the concept is still the same; it allows you to communicate with anyone, anywhere.
The same goes for those big screens they used on The Bridge to communicate with people on other ships and planets; it’s much like how video conferencing works today. You can meet with others face-to-face on large screen monitors/TVs and set up your boardroom just like the Enterprise!
Back in the 60’s, the idea of interacting with each other whilst separated, never mind being de-materialised and sent through space, seemed a far-fetched idea, but advances in video conferencing have made it the next best thing. It is one of the greatest ways to communicate and collaborate with people that you cannot physically be next to.
With software now available in High Definition, the quality of the illusion created makes you feel like you are really there – sitting across from colleagues or clients. It’s a long way off the space time continuum; however this technology is far more advanced than anything seen on Star Trek and what we have now was certainly fuelled by their inspiration.
Like the crew on board the Enterprise, people today visit far and distant lands. Fortunately for Captain Kirk, they had a universal translator. Imagine if no matter what country you visited, you could understand everything the locals were saying. It would certainly make communicating a lot easier.
In fact, this technology actually exists in the real world. There are devices that let you speak phrases in English and which then relay the phrase back in a specified language. A true universal translator may not yet be a reality, but the technology is available with voice recognition software advancing considerably.
Now imagine all these ideas morphed together. It does seem like we are heading towards a future that will enable us to talk to anyone, anywhere and in every language. Until then, we continue to see the increasing benefits of using mobile phones, video conferencing and translation software to our advantage, with a little thanks to the creativity of Star Trek.