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Technologies In Star Trek That Exist In Real Life

Be it the 1960s or 2023, society has always taken real-life inspiration from new technological gadgets introduced in science fiction movies and television. One of the leading examples includes Star Trek, which was so imaginative and endured such a long time on TV that it rightly predicted a slew of fantastic futuristic devices that have since materialized for everyday use in the real world.

While some gadgets like Holodecks have yet to come about in real life, more often than not, Star Trek introduced the world to a bevy of technological marvels that have become commonplace in the 21st century.

Computer Tablets

Nowadays, computer tablets are one of the most convenient ways for personal tech consumers to access their digital data at home or on the go. Be it the iPad, Surface Pro, Samsung Galaxy Tab, etc., the ability to use touchscreen technology with a handheld portable device makes online communication much faster, leading to greater global connectivity.

In Star Trek, the Personal Access Display Device (aka PADD) was a 22nd-century gadget used by Starfleet and other space-traveling units. The rectangular touchscreen device boasted wireless capabilities and was often used on the show to display schematics, track interstellar transmissions, play movies, audio, and recording logs. Over time, the PADDs seen on the long-running sci-fi show become smaller and more akin to modern-day smartphones than larger tablets, further predicting future tech gadgets.


In modern days, tasers and stun guns have become a much safer, more affordable, and more popular form of personal self-defense than using deadly firearms and harmful chemical sprays like Mace. Stopping potential assailants with a few volts of AC/DC has also become more common among law enforcement as a way to curb deadly police brutality (per

In Star Trek, Phasers were the most common energy-blasting weapon used by Starfleet and others. The phrase “Set Phaser to stun” was often commanded on the show, giving characters the authority to use handheld laser firearms to subdue an enemy temporarily rather than kill them. Although a man named Jack Cover invented the stun gun in real life in 1969 (per The Independent), Kirk used a Phaser rifle at least two years prior.


For many, fear of hypodermic needles is a real phobia the medical industry had to work around. As a result, a technology called Jet Injections was developed and used in the 1970s by the U.S. Army to administer mass Swine Flu vaccinations (per, which uses a high-pressure liquid injection under the skin rather than a hypodermic needle.

In Star Trek, Jet Injections were essentially renamed Hypospray, with several characters like Doctor Phlox using the noninvasive medical gadget as an alternative to injecting liquid into the body. The all-time great sci-fi TV show made the technology much more popular until health concerns about the devices rose in the 1980s.

Universal Translators

In 2023, translating one language to another can be done at the tip of a finger. With the advent of Google Translate and such technological breakthroughs as Skype’s Translator (per The Guardian), not to mention language-learning apps like Babel and Duolingo, being able to translate languages is fast, easy, and highly accessible in modern times.

In Star Trek, Kirk and his crew often used small handheld devices that would instantly translate the foreign language and allow them to communicate with the various alien races they encounter on distant planets throughout the galaxy.


While modern-day smart fitness devices can monitor a person’s heart rate, sleep patterns, daily calorie expenditure, and more, Silicon Valley continues to develop devices to monitor blood pressure, glucose levels, body temperature, and more vital health stats, with the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize competition working on such technology since 2012. Brands like Scandou Scott have also led the way in turning the tech into a reality (per

Of course, Tricorders were introduced on Star Trek. They were often used by Mister Spock and Doctor McCoy as a means of monitoring vital medical conditions such as oxygen levels and detecting nearby diseases. The portable sensor computer recorder was first introduced in real life in 1996 (per and is now becoming more and more commonplace with such sleep aid devices as the Muse S Gen 2 headband, which can track brain activity, heart rates, and breathing patterns, and more.

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