Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spock's tricorder

Star Trek fans can relate with both the tricorder and Mr. Spock. So imagine an episode from the series  - Spock lands on an alien planet. He draws out his tricorder and starts scanning the atmosphere around him. He hears a noise and learns the its a native life form attempting to communicate with him. He uses his universal translator to understand the alien and communicate back. As he is about to bid adieu he gets a call from Captain Kirk inquiring about his findings. 15 years ago  this was science fiction.

Fast forward into today. Imagine yourself flying (should I say beaming) to China on a business trip. You land at the city of Shanghai. Unable to comprehend Chinese, you draw your mobile phone. You open the translator application on phone and speak English into the phone which in turn translates it into Chinese so the cab driver can take you to the right destination. On your way you scan the surrounding with your reality browser application and get instant information about the various places that you see.
Just as you get off from the cab you get a call from your boss to check if you have reached the venue of your conference.

If we ignore the hole that international roaming and 3g data connectivity creates into our pockets, the situation of Spock and my imaginary visit to China ain't too different. Today's mobile phone is no different from Spock's tricorder. Technology is changing our life even as I use my tricorder to write this log. Pity voice to text isn't quite working on my mobile (tricorder) yet. Else I could have simply dictated this blog. Guess this tricorder still has a few functions desired, but we are getting there.


  1. Well written. The price of roaming charges for connectivity indeed make this prohibitive at this juncture. However, the charm of blogging will be lost if we use voice to text as we delve a lot longer on the text we right, editting, correcting with a few movements of the keyboard and mouse, which otherwise becomes difficult with voice!

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