Sunday, 21 November 2010

Beam me up, Scotty

The BBC broke the news recently about a treatment for high blood pressure that uses radio waves. MWNN has been saying for decades that 'radio waves will one day be used to treat patients'. The news item got me thinking about other technologies that were foreshadowed on Star Trek.

There are medical devices we take for granted in modern hospitals nowadays.

Sickbay Vital Signs Monitor 
used in Intensive Care Units and high-dependancy wards.

Hypospray Injections via air-jet were available for years before the creation of the original Star Trek. Problems of contamination led to their demise. The modern equivalent comes in a disposable format. Under the force of a small amount of compressed nitrogen gas, the liquid form of a drug is expelled out of the device as a thin jet of medication, which pierces the skin and selectively deposits into the subcutaneous tissue.

The modern 'Computer Tablet' is a much more sleek device than the one James T is holding here. The palm-held computer, or i-phone are used by the general public as well as the medica profession.

Communication device. The most obvious one is the mobile phone. As mobiles have grown smaller and included more functions, they have become remarkaby similar to those devices we first saw in the 1960s series.

Storage Device. The coloured pieces of plastic that Spock would insert into his chunky desktop station console were a forerunner of storage items we rely on today such as CDs, DVDs, USBs and memory cards.

Next, there's the touchscreen. The from fast-food outlet to th i-pad, the high street is now full of this sort of technology.

Transporter Ok so this one’s not been cracked yet –  but it might yet happen. Not sure I like the idea of my molecules being scrambled and re-assembled any more than I like the thought of being locked in a tin box that's flying at 30,000 feet.