Star Trek Tech and Beyond in the 21st Century

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By Hector Cisneros

No TV series or motion picture has captured the imagination of the world like Star Trek. Yes, many love this program's biggest rival Star Wars, but it was Star Trek that launched our imagination straight into the future. With the launch of the new movie Star Trek Beyond, and the upcoming new TV series Star Trek Discovery, coming up in January 2017, we thought it would be worthwhile reviewing many of the new inventions that have sprung to life based on the Star Trek phenomena. A new and exciting era has been given birth by this series, so read on, and prepare yourself to go Beyond the normal confines of our science as we explore Star Trek Teck in the 21st century.

Being a baby Boomer and having grown up watching Star Trek, it amazes me to see all the advancement we have made as a species. Think about it, we have gone from horse and buggy to landing men and probes on distant planets. We have a space station that houses a multi-nation crew and we have connected the entire planet via the internet. The last 50 years alone have driven us to create Star Trek technologies first shown on the TV series. This is such a fantastic achievement that many conspiracy theorists believe we have had extraterrestrial help getting here.

Ancient Aliens Gave it to Us?

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For example, a recent History Channel show about Ancient Aliens (season 11 episode 9) suggest that we were given this technology by the aliens Thor, who landed in the US in the 1940’s, and met with the heads of our government. According to this History Channel show, Gene Roddenberry was one of the people at that meeting who learned about advanced technologies. Later, he then used his books followed by the creation of the show Star Trek, to inform and prepare us, for what would one day be a future with fantastic technologies and alien races. The History Channel’s Ancient Aliens show stated that the creation of Star Trek TV series was a way of preparing our population to get ready for a universe full of other alien species. It’s interesting to me that this show is on the History Channel in the first place, especially since the history channel is supposed to be about “History”, but I digress.

In previous articles, we have discussed many Start Trek technologies that have come to life. The widespread use of computers, Artificial Intelligence, androids and robots, wearable computers, smartphones, global communication’s, GPS, Holographic technology, virtual reality, the internet of things, 3D printers (as an early form of Replicators), beam weapons, cybernetic implants, remote telemedicine, Artificial Intelligence doctors, replaceable body parts, exoskeletons, sensory enhancement and of course planetary travel in space ships. The following list of articles provides more detail and links to those blogs.

List of previous articles on Star Trek tech we have written in the past
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Phasors - (AKA DEW’s)

The creation of directed energy weapons (DEW) is not new. Phasor type weapons, as they were called in Star Trek are now real and come in many flavors.  The creation of microwave beam, an x-ray, laser beams, plasma and particle beam weapons are all real. Although we had mentioned lasers of various kinds in the past. The US government now has operational DEW beam and high energy particle weapons in their arsenal. These include X-ray beams, various high energy lasers, particle beam weapons and pulse projectile weapons.

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A new weapon on the scene is sound amplification and concentration weapons (disruptor beams), that many of the Federation’s enemy used in Star Trek battles. Although these new weapons are not anywhere near as powerful as the ones depicted in the TV series, they can be used to disable and disorient soldiers,  shoot down missiles and damage/destroy satellites in space, and yes they could destroy one of our spacecraft if shot at one.

Tricorder to The Rescue

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We have mentioned in previous article that scientists are working on creating a tricorder type of device. In fact, two years ago I personally checked out a medical device that was designed to check the health conditions of large, dangerous animals like Lions while they were still in their cages (and the doctor safe outside the bars). This prototype device I witnessed could read your pulse, heart rate, breathing rate and temperature from about 8 feet away. Since then, Qualcomm has announced an XPRIZE  competition with 10 million dollars in prize money for the first company to develop a tricorder device. Even more recently, an article in CNN talked about a product called the Scanadu Scout, is professed to provide a real-time medical information. The article says, “Through its sensor, and in a matter of seconds, the Scanadu measures heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level and provides a complete ECG reading.” It looks like we are getting real close to a fully functional tricorder in my lifetime.

Invisibility Cloaking

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One of the coolest technologies that only the enemies of The Federation had, were cloaking devices. The cloaking device made spaceships invisible. We have developed technologies that make aircraft and ships invisible to radar by using radar absorbing materials on the structure of these transportation machines. However, cloaking from visible light and the other spectra of light has been elusive until now.  Several new technologies under development can hide the visible light spectrum, sound and more. In a recent headline in Digital Trends online reads, “New invisibility cloak device can hide almost anything”. The article goes on to say, The Rochester Cloak’, as it’s been dubbed, uses a simplified four-lens system that essentially bends light around any objects you put into the middle of the chain — you’re able to see the area in the background as normal, but not the item in the foreground. According to its inventors, it can be scaled up using any size of lens, and the team responsible for the setup has used standard, off-the-shelf hardware.” This is an amazing device and shows how Star Trek Tech is driving our reality.

Artificial Intelligence and Talking Computers

We have mentioned artificial intelligence back in 2013 in our article, “When Will Computers
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Out Think You?”
And we have covered the latest A.I. entries like Siri, Google Now, Amazon Echo, Cortana, Googles Rank Brain and Dr. Watson in other articles like “Do Smartphones Dream About Facebook?” and in our article, “Google is Playing Musical Chairs with Ranking and it Will cost Us Billions”. Today early forms of A.I. are in widespread use by the public when they use their smartphones, tablets, computers and even their TV remote controls (Xfinity Remote control). I just hope we stay on the path to developing beneficial intelligence, (versus the search for artificial intelligence which we may not be able to control).

Khan - The birth of Genetic enhancements

One of the most loved of the Star Trek TV shows later spawned movies called “The Wrath of
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Khan
”, the story of the Star Trek crew finding genetically enhanced humans from the past that had superior strength, intelligence, and immunity, that were later left on a planet that almost killed them. The story plot explores their attempt for revenge. This movie was recently remade into the new version called “Into the Darkness” with the rebirth of the popular Movie series.  Today genetic testing, enhancements, and even cloning are real. A tremendous amount of money has been spent on mapping the human genome, and with it, come the understanding of many of the things that make us human. It also brings the possibility of upgrades to enhanced humans. A new genetic technology called “CRISPR-Cas 9” will allow scientist to splice genes in ways we haven’t even thought of yet. We have gene therapies already in place and it’s just a matter of time before these technologies are used to enhance our strength, longevity, immunity and more.

SubSpace Communications

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In Star Trek, the captain of the ship could communicate with Star Fleet headquarters, other ships and far-flung planets with ease, even though these entities were dozen if not hundreds of light years away. Today, a one-way call to one of our space probes on Mar’s would take 20 minutes to reach the probe. It would also take another 20 minutes for the Probes response to reach us back. Enter Quantum Entanglement. This theory, as listed in Wikipedia, basically states that two particles can be intimately linked to each other even if separated by billions of light-years of space. In other words, a change in one particle will induce the same effect on the other particle, even if they are separated by great distances. Star Treks SubSpace communication is supposed to be based on this concept. 

Until recently, Quantum Entanglement was only a theory, but recent research has lent credence to this theory becoming a fact. An article entitled, “Quantum Entanglement: Love on a Subatomic Scale”, states that Last year, however, three different research groups were able to perform substantive tests of Bell's Theorem, and all of them found support for the basic idea.” If this breakthrough is real, we will be able to devise a way to communicate over long distances with little or no time passing. Now that would make the invention of the internet seem like a small stepping stone, to this new communications superhighway.

The Birth of Transparent Aluminium

In the Star Trek movie “the Voyage Home”, Scotty the chief engineer gave the secret to manufacturing transparent aluminium to a plant manager in the earth’s past. This was done so that the crew could equip their space ship with water tanks big enough to bring humpback whales back from the past, in order to save the earth in the future from a pending disaster. Well, guess what? Transparent Aluminium is now a reality! Aluminum Ox nitride is now being manufactured and marketed by Surmet Corporation under the name AION. Even though it is expensive, this product is already in widespread use in smartphones and other applications where a hard transparent material is needed.

Here is a description of its properties taken from the Wikipedia on Aluminium Oxynitride. “AlON is optically transparent (≥80%) in the near-ultraviolet, visible and midwave-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is 4 times harder than fused silica glass, 85% as hard as sapphire, and nearly 15% harder than magnesium aluminate spinel. Since it has a cubic spinel structure, it can be fabricated to transparent windows, plates, domes, rods, tubes and other forms using conventional ceramic powder processing techniques. AlON is the hardest polycrystalline transparent ceramic available commercially.[2]Combination of optical and mechanical properties makes this material a leading candidate for lightweight high-performance transparent armor applications such as bulletproof and blast-resistant windows and for many military infrared optics. AlON-based armor has been shown to stop multiple armor-piercing projectiles of up to 50 cal.[4] It is commercially available in sizes as big as 18x35-inch monolithic windows.[5]

This new Star Trek Tech will make a huge difference to protect products like smartphones, Tablets, computer screens, body armor, bullet proof glass, windows from hurricanes and much more. This is a really cool new Start Trek Tech. In fact, all of the Star Trek technologies mention in this article and ones from the past have all had significant impacts on how we live our lives. Star Trek technologies are the types of things that once adopted and incorporated into our life, would leave us going through withdrawals if they were suddenly lost.

It is obvious that the human races fascination and love of all things Star Trek is growing even
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after 50. With the launch of the latest Star Trek movie, “Star Trek Beyond” and the pending new TV series called “Star Trek Discovery” coming out in January 2017, people are lining up to get as much Star Trek Tech in the lives as they possibly can. I know that Star Trek is directly responsible for my own love and fascination for computers and it is why I chose the computer industry as my career path at the age of sixteen back in 1971. I just hope that all these Star Trek Technologies don’t come with strings attached like those talked about in the History Channels Ancient Aliens series.

That’s my opinion, I look forward to reading yours.

In this article, I have discussed many of the latest Star Trek technologies that now exist. I have also mentioned many of the previous articles we have published on this subject and provided links to them so that the reader can explore all the Star Trek tech that is now available for our use.

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Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”



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