This HPE Designer Shares His Experience Working on Star Trek

JULY 19, 2016 • BY CAITLIN PETRAKOVITZ, CNET • BLOG POST

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • HPE and Paramount Pictures partnered to create innovative prototypes for use in the summer blockbuster "Star Trek Beyond"

HPE product designer Chris Carlozzi explains the concepts behind some of the technologies used in the film

One of the best parts of Star Trek has always been its connection to science and technology, and how accessible its innovations—from the PADD to communicators—have proven to be. We spoke with Chris Carlozzi, product designer for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a business-focused infrastructure company that partnered with Paramount Pictures on the upcoming "Star Trek Beyond." He created a series of realistic future technologies for the film and shared original sketches of his three additions to the Star Trek canon, giving us a sneak peek at designs of the tech we'll be using in the 23rd century (probably) (hopefully).

His love of Star Trek shaped the design process. "Each of the devices and experiences that got blended into the plot, I thought, 'If I was Scotty, what would I be doing in this movie?"

Unfortunately, Carlozzi was careful not to let any spoilers slip, so we have no idea how the concepts fit into the film. "I had no understanding of any of the plot," Carlozzi said. "I didn't know much of anything; I just put together things that I felt would be like that distant future-type experience." The following concepts are super-exciting devices we could imagine gleefully using regularly. Think we could make at least one of these happen in our lifetime, everyone?

The Quarantine When you think of the ubiquitous "cloud" storing your data, what do you picture? Something like a bright blob perhaps? Described as "the data center of the future," a lot of information seems to be literally swirling around in that thing, like you could just reach out and touch it. "I really started saying, all right, if I'm doing a device like this, how would I make it work...in like a Starfleet type of mentality," Carlozzi said. "How would I get something to report back to a ship? How would I get something to report back to Starfleet? How would I have databases, when we're talking about things that are like light-years, or different solar systems apart?"

The Book In what appears to be the most accessible concept (and possibly even almost here design-wise?), the Book looks like a bendy, flexible iPad with maybe a roll-up or foldable display. At the top of his sketch, Carlozzi wrote, "The goal of The Book is to learn + teach an aid to exploration. It educates + documents life, adding to a database." As we chatted, Carlozzi drew a parallel between Star Trek exploration, with the Federation's motto of not interfering unless absolutely necessary, and current industrialization of developing countries. A device such as the Book would easily allow worlds of information to be readily available as the Federation expands its reach to other planets and systems. Starfleet members are so focused on gathering information that the amount of data they must have at that their fingertips is staggering. The Book would allow it be carried at all times.

Diagnostic Wrap This Fruit Roll-Up-looking tablet (above) is a futuristic interactive encyclopedia. In that little lithe tablet, you can access a world of information, from Internet of Things-type devices to far-reaching databases. For this design, "You're thinking more crystal storage versus memristor," Carlozzi said. "We're using the memristor as an idea, a concept, and we're talking about other things like photonics. We're trying to take all these large, Big Data concepts and really think about how would a network work in the Star Trek universe."

Essentially, it's a handheld device—an upgraded tricorder, if you will—that lets users access an enormous amount of data to decipher what they're looking at. In the picture above, the Diagnostic Wrap is being used to identify what's wrong with a patient in distress. Since the Wrap analyzes and reports back what it sees and interprets that data, it's clearly a valuable tool in emergency situations. "We really tried to look out really far into that Star Trek universe and say, what can we do that's just mind-blowing, but has a touch of reality, so people can look at it and...relate to it," Carlozzi said. Without Star Trek, what toys wouldn't we have? Did people start developing tablets and touchscreens and transporters because of the show? In a few centuries, maybe we'll be living with Carlozzi's designs—or it could happen a lot faster if tech keeps progressing at the speed it's going. This article originally appeared in CNET online.

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