Can you believe that Star Trek celebrates its 50th birthday on September 8th?! Capitan Kirk and the gang first made their way into our lives on NBC in 1966. Former Los Angeles cop Gene Roddenberry came up with the concept because he wanted to create a TV program that was nothing like what was on the air at the time.
George Takei played the role of Hikaru Sulu and didn't think the franchise would be as successful as it is. He said "When we were shooting the pilot, Jimmy Doohan [who played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott] said to me, 'Well, George, what do you think about this? What kind of run do you think we'll have?'" says Takei. "And I said, 'I smell quality. And that means we're in trouble.' "
Star Trek has become one of the classics and has inspired other shows, movies and even technology. Here are five Star Trek gadgets that became real life.
1. Tablet Computers
In the series these computers were used to map coordinates to get to the next star system, watch video and listen to music; sound familiar? Now we use tablets for the exact things and even more!
When Capitan Kirk had trouble breathing in a new atmosphere he was injected with a hypospray. Researchers at MIT recently created a device that delivers medicine through the skin at the speed of sound.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation we were introduced to Geordi LaForge who was known for his eyewear. Geordi was blind, but after surgery he was given a device called VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement) so he could see through the electromagnetic spectrum. In 2005, scientists at Stanford University created a small chip that went behind the eye now known as the bionic eye. The device was tested on blind rats and after its success, now it's used on people.
4. Tractor Beams
Remember this moment? The Tholian web is almost complete when Spock spots Capitan Kirk. Using tractor beam Spock locked onto him. Today scientists use optical tweezers that are very similar. Small lasers are harnessed into beams that are capable of manipulating and moving molecules.
The tricorder was probably the most useful instruments Star Trek personnel used. It measured almost everything from medical diagnosis to measuring oxygen. Today NASA uses a device called a LOCAD which measures unwanted microorganisms on the International Space Station. On the public market there's a device called the Scanadu Scout which keeps tabs on your health.
Technology has come a very long way! Which of these inventions do you think is the most useful? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!