Do you speak Klingon? Well, if you do fancy it you can now, thanks to Bing.
The Internet search engine that isn’t Google (!) marked the release of the latest Star Trek film Into Darkness by introducing a new language to its translator function; Klingon.
Below is the welcome in Klingon (Kronos). If you want to know how to pronounce it, there’s a phonetic Klingon translator too. Nifty, eh?
Beyond being a nice piece of marketing that will appeal to Trekkies, Bing’s decision to include part of Star Trek lore in their translator shows the enduring synergy between technology, science and science fiction
Star Trek especially has found itself feeding science with ideas of what technology might be like in the future, from the 1960s original series through to the blockbuster films of today. We may be no nearer encountering dilithium crystals than we were 50 years ago but many of the ideas fostered by Star Trek have found their way into the world we live in.
Here’s the Comms Express top five tech ideas inspired by Star Trek:
1 Communicators: The original Star Trek featured communicators that were small, hand-held devices that flipped open for use; very much like a mobile phone. Mobile phone technology has now surpassed mere communication with others at long distances of course and Kirk, Spock and co might be shocked at what a smart phone can do these days.
2 Phasers: We’re not quite there with the kind of laser weaponry that we saw the crew of the Enterprise deploy on away missions, but we might not be far away. Tasers, which use wires to relay an electric charge, might be the closest we have to phasers at the moment but www.howstuffworks.com reports that a company called Applied Energetic has developed Laser Guided Energy and Laser Induced Plasma Energy technologies that can “transmit high voltage bursts of energy to a source.” In other words, hit a target with little collateral damage. So we may be setting our phasers to stun before too long.
3 Tricorders: One of the most useful bits of kit in the original Star Trek series, tricorders were used by Spock, McCoy and others to collect scientific and medical data and make important decisions about what to do next in a crisis. It seems our equivalent of the tricorder might not be far away with www.howstuffworks.com noting that NASA already uses an instrument called a LOCAD which monitors for harmful organisms while a San Francisco company called Scanadu are reconfiguring smartphones to use them to scan for diseases and disorders. Scanadu are among 100 teams competing for the Tricorder X Prize, a £10 million competition to find
a technology that changes medicine forever by next summer
4 Universal Translators: When James T Kirk and his crew were boldly going where no man had been before (love that saying – come own up how many of us have said that over the years?!) and encountered alien races they could always understand them thanks to the universal translator. The University of Toronto is developing a technology which looks at how different parts of the brain are used to recognise language with the aim of developing a universal translator programme.
5 Hypospray: Dr Leonard “Bones” McCoy could often be found inoculating the crew against nasty space viruses with a hypospray, an injection using high air pressure rather than a needle. The pressure shoots a vaccine deep into the skin so a needle isn’t necessary. In reality, this technology has been around for many years and existed before Star Trek. These jet injectors are a cleaner, safer way of delivering vaccine than injection by needle… we just don’t see them very often!
I’ve always fancied being bilingual so I’m off to learn Klingon: beam me up Scotty!
Until next time.