Google Built A ‘Star Trek’-Style Communicator

If you’re a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, you’ve probably wanted a communicator. Communicators are great! Just tap a lapel badge, and it’ll instantly put you in contact with anybody who can further the plot! And, like all toys from science fiction programs, a bunch of nerds decided to sit down and make it a reality. It just so happens these nerds were from Google.

Make It So

It turns out that while we can’t communicate with spaceships, because they don’t exist yet, most of the rest of the Star Trek communicator is dead easy. After all, it’s just a Bluetooth headset, when you think about it. A highly advanced Bluetooth headset that can translate text to speech, but still, a Bluetooth headset.

And that’s more or less what Google engineered. You pin it to your lapel, like a communicator, and tap it to work. Admittedly, they didn’t have the cellular thing down quite yet; it uses your phone to allow you to voice search and answer questions. But that was really just a matter of installing a radio. There was, however, one small problem…

Get A Life!

Star Trek Communicator
Closeup of a Star Trek communicator.

Namely, that it was too dorky and awkward even for Google, and this is the company that was deeply invested in the idea that Google Glass was the future, and not a ticket to getting punched in the face. It turns out most people don’t want to talk to a device in public, or have it read off all the search data Google can spew out. Really, for most of us, it makes far more sense to have a Bluetooth socketed in our ear or just look at a screen than pin a speaker to our lapel.

Yet, at least we know it’s still out there, and who knows? Maybe one day, after we pioneer warp drives and begin exploring the galaxy, we’ll lose our sense of shame.  Or it will just make a solid gift for a geek or really anyone who has a bit of nerd gifting in them.

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Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.

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