Make it so: Google made a working Star Trek Communicator badge

Picard to Enterprise: Google's prototype badge connected to a phone over Bluetooth

google prototype

Google created its own lapel pin

Credit: Time

And you thought Google's ideas came from years of analysis, thoughtful design and just being way smarter than the rest of us. Nope. It seems that sometimes the company's engineers just watched TV.

At least TV was the inspiration for a prototype lapel pin that let you talk to a computer for information. Yup, straight out of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

"I always wanted that pin,” Google's Amit Singhal told Time while showing of the Google Star Trek communicator badge. “You just ask it anything and it works. That’s why we were like, ‘Let’s go prototype that and see how it feels.’” 

tng Paramount

Communicator badges in the 23rd century let crewmembers talk to the computer with a single tap.

The Star Trek Communicator badge isn't the only Hollywood tech that inspires Googlers, either. The same Time interview says Google employees often invoke the human-like talking OS from the movie Her as well.

Are those the only two examples of Google's obsession with movie tech? Perhaps not. Google has never owned up to the design inspiration for its self-driving car, but it definitely evokes the goofy look and feel of the cars from Woody Allen's Sleepers

sleepr United Artists

No, that's not a goofy Google self-driving car on the right outside McDonalds, it's a shot from Woody Allen's Sleepers.

Car aficionados would probably opt for the Sleeper car over the Google car, but, hey, Google is still in the prototype stage.  

Google self driving car (5) Google

Google's self-driving car prototype, seen in a company promotional video

We have to now wonder what other technology is lurking deep in Google's labs. Since you'll soon be able to buy an authentic Star Trek Communicator that actually works, I have a few other suggestions for Google:

I still have a scale model of an Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999 in my closet, but I need the CommLink too. This handy device from the classic 1970s TV show let you conduct video messaging and unlock doors. 

commlink ITV Studios

Barbara Bain uses a Commlink in Space: 1999. It's a communications device, clock and door opener. 

I also need a Tricorder—but thanks to Google we're already half way there. You can already use an Android device to analyze something's size and make a 3D model of it, take thermal images of it, and check ambient temperature and barometric pressure. But how about detecting life forms and doing spectroscopic analysis of objects too?

tricorder Diamond Select

We can already do most of the things a Tricorder can do, why not finish the job Google?

Once you're done with that, we still need working lightsabers, so spend some of your revenue to make that too, OK, Google? And once you're done with that, I need to talk with you about some items from Logan's Run.

This story, "Make it so: Google made a working Star Trek Communicator badge" was originally published by PCWorld.

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