Many people could recognize the voice of Leonard Nimoy, the logical Spock from the Star Trek series. If not from there then from his numerous other acting roles, such as King Kashekim Nedakh from the Disney movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire or even the narrator for the video game Civilization IV. This talented man passed away on February 27, much to the chagrin of many fans.
To honor his passing, a list of technologies that were inspired by the show he is most famous for acting in, Star Trek, was compiled by CNN News. The first is cell phones. On the show, many characters use small, portable communicators in order to talk to each other when on distant planets or even just on other parts of their ship, the Enterprise. The shared appearance between their communicators and the original cell phones is no coincidence, because the original creator of the cell phone Martin Cooper said that he was inspired by Captain Kirk’s golden flip communicator.
Another modern technology owed to the crew of the Enterprise is the automatic door. Their super advanced high-tech ship had doors that opened automatically for people who walked up to them. A mere fantasy at the time, we now have the same kind of technology in most department stores.
The third technology is fairly recent but incredibly handy. On the show, the crew had a universal translator to eliminate the language barrier between any different alien species they ran into in their adventures. We might not use it for space invaders just yet, but Microsoft developed a translating tool on Skype which lets us understand fellow human beings, even if we don’t speak the same language.
In the sixties, the idea of massive television screens was a wonderful work of fantasy, which showed up on Star Trek in their main control room. Their large screens let them see the captains of other ships and communicate with ease, which our modern day huge televisions can do if hooked up to cameras. We can even do it on our computers, phones, and tablets.
Communication wasn’t the only way the crew of the Enterprise was more advanced though. Medical Doctor McCoy could easily see a person’s vitals by moving a sensor over a patient and read it on his “tricorder.” In modern times, our “tricorder” is really called the “Scanadu,” and it is placed on a patient’s forehead. After a few seconds, it measures the person’s blood pressure, oxygen level, heart rate, temperature, and even a complete ECG reading.
Even more strange is the idea of artificial intelligence. On the Enterprise, crew members could talk to the ship’s computer and get a quick response. In modern times we don’t need a massive computer to do that though, our phones work just fine. Siri and Google Now might be a little ways off and slightly buggy, but they’re getting pretty close. They even have a sense of humor, which the Enterprise never really got the hang of.
Leonard Nimoy might be gone, but he is immortalized from his work on Star Trek. The technologies he pretended to work with in the sixties he lived to see in our times today. Star Trek may have been science fiction, but it seems to be more science than fiction now.
By Evan Roberts