The Star Trek Tech We Hope to See in Our Lifetimes
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  1. David Gillam
    April 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Not to rain on the parade, but The original series' Enterprise (NCC-1701) was a Constitution class starship, and had no holodeck. You may have meant the Galaxy class starship, which is what the TNG Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) was.

    As far as transporters go, the fact that we can conceive of how they might work means they *are* theoretically possible. We have means to record molecular characteristic details. We have means to turn matter into energy. We are on the cusp of being able to turn energy into matter. Our computing power increases geometrically all the time. It's just a matter of all these technologies coming together and scaling up to the required level for making a transporter a reality. The only potential ultimate snag might be overcoming the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, but I've read that scientists have ideas on that already. The detail of not having a receiving mechanism is a snag I cannot answer, but that doesn't mean someone smarter than I cannot answer it. Cheers!

    • Andrew Beeching
      April 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Well said, David! I'm no brilliant scientist myself, but one thing that's plainly obvious is that the word "impossible" has no place in discussions on future tech. It's frustrating to see people still using that word in an attempt to make themselves look knowledgeable to others, especially when we can point to so many examples of things formerly thought impossible that are now commonplace. Flying, anyone?
      I agree - a lot of concepts are pretty hard to work out at the moment, but that's the thing about science: it progresses. And it doesn't claims to have all the answers "right now". Only religions do that, right?
      Anyway - how about time travel? They do that now & again in Star Trek. Einstein laid out the theory behind effectively travelling FORWARD in time (relativity), but what about backwards? I've got to admit - this seems to me to be the "holy grail" of science. If you'll excuse the irony ;-)

    • Saikat
      April 14, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      True, David.

      So many wiser people than us have made absolutely bad predictions that didn't pan out the way they thought (e.g. IBMs take on the impossibility of the desktop computer)

      "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
      ~ Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

      So, I wouldn't wager my hard earned money on Star Trek tech NOT becoming a reality.

      But I kept the focus of the article on the time period of our lifetimes. Say, the next 50 years or so. Hmmm...let's see :)

  2. Michael Dowling
    April 8, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    About the only thing totally impossible is the transporter,which was invented as a plot device to save money on movie/TV sets.It's a lot cheaper to show people fading into/out of existence in one place and appear in another than it is to rebuild the scenery every time the star ship is shown landing on some planet. The computing power to build a real transporter would be off the charts,and destroying/rebuilding a body or other object at the destination is not feasible even theoretically.

  3. dragonmouth
    April 7, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    "Which Star Trek tech do you think will become real soon?"
    The answer to that question is pure guess work. We can make an educated guess based on technology today but serendipity rules. How many inventions were made while trying to invent something else?

    "who do you think was the best predictor of technology? Da Vinci, Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, or Gene Roddenberry?"
    Hard to say because they all built on the predictions and science of their predecessors. DaVinci built on thew ideas of Archimedes and other ancient philosophers and scientists.

    You omitted Nicola Tesla as one of the best predictors of technology.

    • Saikat
      April 8, 2015 at 1:31 am

      True.

      As Newton said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants."

      I missed H.G Wells too :)

    • dragonmouth
      April 8, 2015 at 11:27 am

      "I missed H.G Wells too"
      While the individuals mentioned so far are/were the most prominent predictors of technology, almost any science fiction writer has predicted future tech. That's their job. :-) The problem is that to see whether the predictions of writers like Joe Haldeman (Forever War), Larry Niven (Ringworld), Fred Saberhagen (Berserker series), James Blish (Cities in Flight), Keith Laumer (Bolo series), etc turn out to be accurate we will have to wait hundreds, if not thousands of years.