Over fifty years after it began, the future Star Trek imagined is happening — there are gadgets and tools readily available that can do almost everything Star Trek technology could do (and more). While you probably won’t be flying around in the USS Enterprise anytime soon, there are plenty of products available that can have you feeling like a member of the crew as you interact with your own home!
For those of you who’ve ever dreamed of using holodecks, replicators, universal translators, or just having the lights turn on automatically when you get home, your time has come.
These smart home devices may not be quite as good as exploring strange new worlds, but you’re also far less likely to get sucked into a different dimension. Here are some of our favorite ways to make a home feel like Star Trek.
Star Trek features a device called the holodeck, which allows participants to engage in different virtual reality (VR) environments. While we haven’t achieved the same level of sensory immersion and realism as the holodeck yet, VR headsets are getting close.
Many of today’s VR headsets are primarily used for gameplay, but other applications are beginning to gain in popularity. For example, you now see VR headsets being used for medical and military training, as well as architectural design and urban planning.
Replicators have played an important part in many Star Trek storylines over the years. The Kazon would have (and did) killed for replicator technology — but you don’t have to. The ability to recreate something instantly from a digital blueprint is now possible in real life with 3D printers.
Tragically, you still can’t easily reproduce food like they can in the Star Trek universe, but this might be possible sooner than you think!
While 3D printers have been around for years, recent price drops have made them more popular. Today’s 3D printers start at around $300, although most of the better ones will still set you back around $2,000.
Ready to take the 3D printing plunge even further? Take a look at the LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer ($1,250/£1,246) or MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer, 5th Generation ($1,605).
World peace and a galactic federation would have been impossible without great communication technology. In the United Federation of Planets, universal translators take many forms. Some are physical devices that communicators carry around to interact with aliens. Others are implanted modules, installed near a person’s ear or chest.
In our universe, translators are also available in various formats. Many of the best are translation apps for mobile devices. Among those worth considering are iTranslate, iTranslate Voice, and SpeakText.
Natural Language Queries
Star Trek characters regularly give voice commands to their computer in order to complete various tasks around the ship. Though voice recognition services Alexa, Google, and Siri aren’t quite at that level yet, they are getting close.
Today’s voice assistants can tell you the weather, give traffic conditions and play music. They can also send messages, set timers, create shopping lists, and a lot more. All of these processes are accompanied by a pleasant, computer-generated voice.
So Much More
There are plenty of other real-world gadgets that would feel right at home in the world of Star Trek. These mostly fall into the smart home category, including smart lights, smart door locks, smart thermostats, smart security cameras, and more.
Most of these require a central hub that connects to your home’s Wi-Fi — your ship’s computer, if you will. The smartest of smart devices are those that “learn” your habits as they go, but that hopefully won’t try and sabotage you for alien purposes.
Light the World
Dramatic and colorful lighting is a key component of the original Star Trek series’ atmosphere. You can create similar effects in your own home using the Philips Hue LED Lighting System — one of the most popular smart home products available. The company’s lineup of smart light bulbs is controllable through iOS devices and Apple Watch. With Philips Hue, you can choose from 16 million colors using the official Hue app. Many of these have the ability to sync with your music, TV, and games.
Other smart lighting manufacturers include LIFX, Belkin WeMo, GE, and more.
When combined with smart monitoring products, smart lights can turn on/off depending on the time of day and whether someone is the room. You don’t need to lift a finger to have your lights exactly the way you want them.
A Smarter Entry Door
They don’t make that cool “whoosh” noise every time they open, but the current crop of smart entry door systems might actually be more high-tech than the doors to the captain’s quarters.
With the August Smart Lock and similar products, you can do things such as remotely lock and unlock your door plus receiving alerts whenever someone leaves or enters your home. You can also assign codes for visitors to come and go.
Need to know who’s at the door? With Ring’s lineup of smart doorbells, you have access to adjustable motion sensors and Live View on-demand video and audio.
It’s Toasty Inside
The Nest Learning Thermostat ($249) was one of the first smart products released. It’s ideally suited for someone who wants to go all-in on the entire smart home concept. Should any intergalactic guests (or your extended family) show up, you’ll be able to keep them comfortable no matter what their home planet’s climate is like.
Nest offers a variety of features, including: Home/Away Assist (which senses when you’re not home), Leaf (which helps you save money on your energy costs), and Farsight (which allows it to light up whenever someone is in the room so you can see the time, temperature, or weather).
Securing the Deck
Whether it’s Q, the Dura Sisters, or Khan, the Star Trek universe is full of dangerous foes that need to be stopped. While you’re probably not going to have the Borg knocking at your door, it’s still important to protect yourself with a smart security camera. You don’t even need to wear a red shirt.
Home security cameras have improved significantly over time. Furthermore, most are now wireless and run on your home’s Wi-Fi network. Most capture HD video. And current-generation cameras have been designed to look much better inside and outside the home.
Beam Me Up, Scotty
Tragically, there still aren’t any real-world options available for some of the really fun Star Trek technologies like transporters and warp-speed travel. But who knows what the next few years will bring! After all, even a few years ago most people never would have guessed how often we would integrate VR headsets, tablets, and voice controls into our lives.