Techno Thursday: Beam Me Up Scotty!

Right now I’m thinking a transporter that can take me from Rochester, NY to Madagascar would be pretty cool considering I hate flying and the trip to Madagascar is pretty long. 3 Planes to be exact. Two of them over 8 hours long. Me not a happy camper. Then again, do I really want all my whatever’s split apart then put back together on the other end? What would happen if a tiny little piece of me got left behind? Would I still be me? Maybe Cool Gus’ Science Advisor can help out with the idea of a transporter and quantum teleportation because that is out my league!

I’m going to stick with the “communicator”, which Captain Kirk never left home…I mean his ship…without one. If he needed some quick info while on some strange faraway planet, all he had to do was take out his trusty communicator and call the Starship Enterprise.

Star Trek aired in 1966. We landed on the moon in 1969. That was broadcasted on televisions across the nation. In 1973 a senior engineer at Motorola made the first mobile phone call.

So was Star Trek really ahead of its time.

Oh yeah, baby.

First, the transmission from the moon: NASA had to have stations on three continents. They had to have a 200 foot in diameter radio dish. Ha. I had Dish TV a very long time ago, and I thought 5 feet was huge!

As far as the first mobile phone call? The battery had to charge for 10 hours and it only lasted 30 minutes. Motorola didn’t come out with its first commercial mobile phone until 1983 at the tune of 4,000.00. I shudder to think the roaming charges on that sucker.

While we did have the technology to communicate without telephone wires long before it happened, it always takes a while for the technology to get to the point where the masses can afford them. Or see a need for them. Then can’t live without them.

We think technology moves fast and changes fast. It does, once it gets to the point where everyone is getting one. Cell phones really didn’t become popular (out side of wealthy people) until Nokia and Motorola started making small devices or flip phones at affordable prices, and the cost to use them went down, in the late 90’s. I think today we call them dumb phones. Remember texting on those suckers? The first Blackberry in 1999 was more like a small PDA with a keyboard.

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Have to admit the flip phone looks an awful lot like the communicator!

So the question really is, how much of technology comes from shows like Star Trek?

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And just for fun. Short clip from the original series. Notice the use of the communicator!


  1. I was thinking the same thing about the Star Trek communicator. I wish I were smart enough to guess what technology will do next like Mr. Roddenberry did. Or the scarier stuff like George Orwell did. In the mean time…

  2. What an imagination Gene Roddenberry had. Good luck on your trip.

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