Star Trek technology that we use today -

Star Trek technology that we use today

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By Adam McDonald By Adam McDonald

(CNNMoney) -- With the death of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Star Trek's Spock, we remember his character's legacy: The technology we use every day.

(All photo credit: CNN Money)



Without Star Trek we may not have ever been able to make phone calls whenever and wherever we please. Cell phones are a direct descendant of the communicators found on the show. In fact, Martin Cooper has said that it was Captain Kirk's gold flip communicator that inspired him to create the first ever mobile phone.


Automatic doors

One of the first pieces of technology to come out of Star Trek was the automatic door. When an Enterprise crew member approached a door, it would automatically open. Today, you can find that once futuristic technology at any corner store.


Universal translator

While Spock and Kirk found themselves in many dangerous situations, Starfleet's Prime Directive was that of exploration and observation. With that came the understanding of other alien languages thanks to the series' universal translator. Sure with apps like Google Translate, we can type in and understand any conversation but now with tech like Microsoft's "Skype" translator, today's users no longer have to fear the language barrier.



The giant viewscreen on the bridge of the Enterprise allowed Captain Kirk to communicate with other space ships and people on nearby planets. Today, giant high definition televisions equipped with video cameras allow us to speak with people across the globe in real time.



Doctor McCoy could measure someone's vital signs by waving a sensor over someone's body and looking at a read-out on his tricorder. Today, "tricorders" really exist. The "Scanadu" works by placing a tiny sensor on a patient's forehead. 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. 


Speaking to a computer in natural language -- and getting a quick response -- is one of Star Trek's greatest technology promises. We're not quite there yet, but apps like Siri, Google Now and Cortana are getting close. They even have been programmed to have a sense of humor, which the Enterprise computer never fully mastered.


Transparent aluminum

In the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Scotty and Bones provided a 20th century engineer the formula for transparent aluminum. It was in exchange for materials to build a whale tank. It's a long story....Anyways, transparent aluminum exists today. The material, known as ALON, is produced by a company called Surmet.



Dr. McCoy might have been cantankerous, but he didn't stick patients with needles. Instead, he used a device called a hypospray, which sprayed medicine into a patient's blood stream directly through the skin. Hyposprays exist today, though they're called jet injectors. They're expensive, so they're still not as commonly used as needles. But they're less painful.


Crew locator

Before beaming people up, the crew of "Star Trek" had to first locate the likes of Kirk and Spock and the many red shirts on distant planets. Crew location could be seen as a precursor to the Global Position System technology that many around the world now use daily. GPS location technology may seem like a standard way of life, but back in the late sixties when the show first premiered it seemed as if it only belonged to the U.S.S. Enterprise.


Space travel

One of the greatest legacies of "Star Trek" is space travel. When the show first premiered back in 1966, space travel was still a risky endeavor for mankind. However, a few years later man had walked on the moon. Now, entrepreneur Richard Branson wants to use his space transportation company, "Virgin Galactic," to help send even every-day people into the final frontier. Space travel is still a risky endeavor, however. One of Virgin Galactic's test flights recently ended in disaster killing its crew.



There's a lot to remember when flying through space, which is why "Star Trek" used a PADD. The "Personal Access Display Device" was computer notebook of sorts. This tech is almost identical to the dozens of computer tablets like the iPad and Microsoft Surface that people use today. While today's iPads are a bit more thin and sleek than the "Star Trek" counterparts, PADD looks to have been a huge influence on today's tablet world.

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