Star Trek vs. Star Wars. It’s a battle that has been waging in geek circles for years and one that really picked up steam in the internet era. While the feud between Trekkies and Star Warriors (trust me, it’s better than any other nickname out there) is never ending, when it comes to which franchise is more compatible with real life technology, there’s no competition — it’s Star Trek hands down. Calm down all you Warsies, Jedheads and Lucasites (told ya) — let me explain.
From Communicator to Mobile Phone
When good ole Captain Kirk needed to relay a message to a member of the Enterprise, he knew he could always rely on his trusty communicator to relay the message. Whip it out, flip it open and just like that, he’s seamlessly communicating with crew members on the other side of far away planets.
We’ve got our own communicators, but for some odd reason, choose to call them mobile phones. Of course Star Trek characters couldn’t use those inter-galactic communication devices to surf the web, capture embarrassing photos of Enterprise comrades or navigate their way through their Milky Way, but they share enough similarities with cell phones for the purpose of this exploration.
What Do You Say?
From the Original Series in the 1960s to the Enterprise series that timely followed the new millennium, our Star Trek heroes regularly encountered intelligent forms of life during their journeys across the galaxy. But since these beings weren’t always intelligible in terms of the words coming out of their mouths, the crew often used the universal translator to break the immense language barrier.
Although the real world has yet to produce anything as sophisticated as the universal translator, we’re getting pretty darn close. Google Translate, for example, allows you to translate pieces of text as well entire documents and web pages, while U.S. troops are using tools like VoxTec’s Phraselator to interpret foreign languages during tours of duty and when responding to natural disasters. Pretty soon, there might be a gadget to help me better understand those DMT aliens that occasionally appear in my backyard.
Regardless of rank, members of the Enterprise regularly found themselves in a compromising situation. When they ran into trouble, it was up to the rest of the crew to find them and safely return them to the ship. Thank the space gods for the transporter, the handy gadget that made it possible to pinpoint an individual’s exact location from several thousand miles away.
These days, we can find our way, or our loved ones and pets with a cool piece of tech called the global positioning system. Devices equipped with GPS are literally driving us turn-by-turn to the front doors of the locations we check-in at on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we look to be lightyears away from teleporting even a measly burger back to home base.
Into the Future
There is some interesting tech from Star Trek being worked out as we speak. Among them is the force field, the double-edged sword that is popular in both sci-fi and fantasy lore. Another interesting innovation in the works is the infamous cloaking device. True Trekkers will remember this stealth mode of travel from fantastic voyages that occurred throughout many centuries in the Star Trek timeline. Scientists are busy hammering out the kinks in all sorts of cloaking techniques, but honestly, black hat SEOs have had the most success with it up to this point.
Don’t fret Star Wars fans. Knowing that technology from Star Trek is truer to life than your favorite franchise doesn’t necessarily mean its better or more realistic. Besides, once the creative minds come up with a fully functional light saber, all this stuff won’t even matter.