Whether you love or hate Star Trek, you have to respect its vision. A future in which humanity has transcended money, wealth, and greed in favour of pure enlightenment and exploration. And space battles.
Fresh off the news that universal translators may be a reality in the near future, this is a look at some of the aspirational tech Star Trek gave us which is within our grasp. In some cases, we've already caught up or surpassed Gene Roddenberry's expectations; Kirk's communicator doesn't even have apps, and haven't Federation engineers heard of retina display? If you're interested, a list of tech we've already conquered can be seen here, including the phaser, transparent aluminium, and life sign detectors.
This engaging piece of news got scientists and trek fans pretty excited -- warp technology is not only possible but could be more efficient. What's lacking now is the means to actually carry out these experiments. Let's not forget that in Star Trek, we didn't reach warp speeds until we'd been ravaged by a world-encompassing third world war in 2063.
From Space.com. Credit: Harold While
Scientists have actually managed this one! That's right, in lab testing, researchers have been able to move objects towards the source of a beam being shot at it... The fact that these are microscopic spheres of silica suspended in water over distances of 30 micrometres is irrelevant, right?
From Memory Alpha
We may have lofty dreams about beaming from one place to another in the blink of an eye, (unless you've seen The Fly) but the teleportation race at the moment is firmly set on quantum teleportation. That is, the transmission of subatomic particles over space -- boring, I know, but a step in the right direction.
From Huffington Post. Credit: Paramount Television
Okay, you're going to have to be quite forgiving with this one. While we may not be able to walk up to a shiny black hole in the wall and demand our "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot", we are now seeing tech that can make us what we want in a 3D space. That's an incredible leap from 2D to 3D.
From Think Science Now
I'm not just talking about the most recent movie here -- Kirk performed a space jump in Generations, but it was left on the cutting room floor. Nevertheless, this is probably the one we're closest to, considering we all saw Baumgartner jump from the stratosphere with some nifty tech around him.
Wouldn't it be awesome to walk into a room and poignantly practice how you're going to say goodbye to your co-workers? You may be able to do that before some of the other technologies from this list appear, thanks to mighty Microsoft, which wants to turn your living room into a holodeck. Can you think of anything other than gaming that this might be used for? Nope? Yeah, no, totally -- me either.
You may wish you could vanish into thin air when you realise someone else is wearing the same Klingon battle-shirt at the meet-up, and soon you may be able to do just that. Scientists back in 2006 figured out the maths to cloak an object, by placing them by a 'superlens'. We're waiting, guys...
This one's easy. We're seeing smarter, more lifelike, more helpful machines everyday, which are either making our jobs and relationships easier, or taking them over entirely. We may be some way from Data's 'positronic brain' from The Next Generation, but let's remember even he was ahead of his time then, and that was the 24th century.
From Memory Alpha
Tricorders were used in Star Trek as little boxes which bleeped and blooped around your body, presenting the healthcare professional with a readout of exactly where that painful spot is located. The same tech is certainly on its way, and is being tested on the International Space Station. Other than that, wearable technology and diagnostic tools seem to be bleeding into our lives more and more -- letting us know how many calories we've burned and eaten, and presenting possible reasons for ailments and symptoms.
We all know this is coming, surely? No matter what measures are taken to curb this, genetic engineering is rising, and you can even have your genome mapped if you drop a serious bit of cash on it. As we learn more and more about our genes we're going to be able to isolate the badd'uns and amalgamate the good'uns until, well, we end up with this tyrant. He certainly has the style gene -- though for now we'll have to settle for stylish jeans.
I'll just leave this here.