Star Trek Comm Badges


There’s much to admire about the Star Trek technological imagination. There are some glaring problems too.

Take the Comm Badge. Apart from turning your collar bone into a public speaker phone, the fictional Star Trek badge has another unseen problem that I hope this real badge (pictured above) doesn’t — there’s a natural delay that makes the conversation not quite as “real-time” as the show perhaps depicted.

No matter how good your technology is, if you’re waiting for someone to finish saying “Geordi,” before you open the connection to say “Geordi” to Geordi, your conversation is going to be somewhat asynchronous in nature. However, it’s not a deal breaker. We can play clever tricks by speeding things up to catch up to real-time and maybe no one would notice most of the time.

Now, a Star Trek invention that has truly insurmountable problems is the Transporter. Why in the world would we destroy the original copy of YOU when all we really need to do is beam or otherwise cause to exist a remotely operated copy of you — i.e., a robotic and/or biological “remotely operated person”. There’s so much less risk to your person, say, if you’re wearing a red shirt and/or you’ve been recently written off the show.

We can solve sensing and effecting all of the ROPs systems remotely, lag notwithstanding. But can we ever prove or disprove that destroying the original copy of a person during beaming is not, you know, death? I don’t care if the copy swears it’s you and can answer trivia questions. We’re still destroying the original.

I’m with McCoy on this one.

By the way, why does the woman in the picture look so unhappy? She’s not wearing a red shirt.

CommBadge Bluetooth wearable smartphone speaker invokes Star Trek.

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