We wrote about the Hewlett Packard Enterprise/Star Trek Beyond collaboration last week, but now we’ve got some more info on exactly what these devices are supposed to do, plus some visuals go to with it.
Caution: BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
The key to it all is that HPE’s product designer, Chris Carlozzi, is a Star Trek fan, and says he used that to help shape his design process, even channeling Scotty to ask himself what he’d be doing if he were in the movie, and how would he be doing it.
They still haven’t filled him in on any super secret plot details, or told him exactly how the devices he designed fit into the story, but he did share his original sketches with cnet, and they added some photos from Paramount Pictures to speculate on exactly what’s what. If you consider any of these to be spoilers, read no further. If you’re curious, read on.
This doesn’t appear to be a medical device after all. Instead, it’s an information center, with the potential to gather up massive amounts of almost touchable data, and report back on it across light years and solar systems.
Could this be how it looks in the movie?
Think of this one as an iPad that bends. It’s not about scanning and transmitting information, but more about creating a way to access information that’s already out there, with infinite depth and scope. Definitely a useful tool when Spock’s not around to tell you everything about everything.
Also somewhat iPad-ish is the Diagnostic Wrap, which takes on some of the functionality, and then some, of the medical tricorder. This looks like an evolution of what we’ve always seen on Star Trek and envied, stuck as we are in a world of pokey needles and invasive, painful internal procedures. (Apparently you’re supposed to get colonoscopies ROUTINELY after a certain age, which makes me long for Star Trek medical technology to become reality, and soon.) It scans, then accesses a wealth of stored information to come up with a diagnosis, and hopefully, a treatment as well.
Very smart that they’re tapping into real technology experts to design these gadgets for the movie, especially since we know Star Trek has a history of inspiring the creation of tech out here in the real world. Martin Cooper, who invented the first “non-vehicular” cell phone, said he was inspired by the communicator used by Captain Kirk in the original series. MIT has been developing hyposprays, Google Translate is a giant leap towards the universal translator, and we have body scanners in use in hospitals, airports, and our X-Box Kinects. And the iPad seems an awful lot like the PADDs those Next Gen crew members carried around.
Siri, of course, is a logical extension of Star Trek-inspired technology, and when Google started developing their version of her, they initially called it Majel. While tech experts tell us that the transporter isn’t anything they can see as a reality, there are tricorders in development, and enough holograms to fill a holodeck or two. Inspiration and innovation go hand in hand.
So I think that means I can hold out on the colonoscopy, right? The Diagnostic Wrap is right around the corner.