Star Trek

Virtual Reality, Skype Translator , MRI: everything was in "Star Trek"

PAJAMAS. Some fans are sorry but this is how it is : in France, Star Trek has struggled to take, long considered “a kitsch series with travelers in pyjama uniforms exploring a cardboard-paste galaxy”, sighs physicist Yves Raducka. It must also be said that it is a bit true… So, Star Trek began to be broadcast on small French screens only in 1980, in the wake of the madness La Guerre des Etoiles (1977). This does not prevent Arte from celebrating the fifty years of this television series that has become cult by a web series posted on its website Arte Creative. The ten mini-episodes of Teleportation 2161 offer a fairly complete panorama of this universe born from the imagination of a former speechwriter for Los Angeles police chief Gene Roddenberry.

UNITED PLANETS. Politics, science, economics, law, international relations, technology… Star Trek has built a true mythology. What was not gained at the beginning : the original series lasted only three seasons, from 1966 to 1969, before NBC canceled all due to lack of success. But reruns on cable networks, feature films and spin-off series have enriched the original universe and its coherence, and expanded the audience to make Star Trek a genre of monument of popular culture.

A message imbued with humanism, far from imperialism

Convening scientists, lawyers, specialized journalists, fans, experts of the series and even the spacewalker Jean-François Clervoy, Teleportation 2161 shows how positive and enthusiastic the message delivered by Star Trek about the conquest of space, imbued with values of humanism, respect for others, far from imperialism, in the political framework of a “Federation of the United Planets” obviously evoking the United Nations. This one has a key principle : “No Starfleet officer [l’académie qui forme les explorateurs de la série, NDLR] should not interfere in the affairs of the peoples encountered. The spirit of conquest is absent”, recalls the lawyer Fabrice Defferrard.

STARTAC. The series, without pretending to be visionary, is also a pool of gadgets and other technological innovations that is now not only popular culture but reality ! Inspired by Captain Kirk’s Communicator, a Motorola engineer named Martin Cooper had the idea to develop what would become the very first cell phone, the DynaTAC 8000, released in 1983. But it is the StarTAC, from Motorola still, first clamshell mobile launched in 1996, which will really take up the design of the Communicator. The most famous device is probably the Tricorder, a small case capable of scanning a person to identify the evil from which he suffers. A few years later, in the 1970s, the first MRI scans were developed. Better : Qualcomm launched in 2012 a competition to develop a real Tricorder. Results in early 2017.

HOLODECK. In the series Star Trek: the new generation, broadcast between 1987 and 1994, it is touchscreens that make their appearance, long before the iPod (2001) and the iPhone (2007) of Apple. So is the Holodeck, an empty room reserved for virtual reality experiences. The concept is so iconic that the term “holodeck”is now almost passed into the common language of VR. You want some more ? If recently Microsoft could boast of having developed a real-time translation system on Skype based on artificial intelligence technology, the crew of Star Trek : Enterprise (2001-2005) had its universal translator.

FANTASY. Remains a small flat. The technology that most embodies the series, and which gives its title to the Arte Creative webdocumentary, is still fantasy. Teleportation, in Start Trek, was originally a filming trick to save production costs (avoid having to film a landing ship and a crew landing on a new planet). In reality, if researchers are working hard on the subject, it is still far from the time when we can say “Beam me up !”to go home.

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