NASA Wants Young Engineers to Make the Replicator from Star Trek

Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 2:44PM
Science of Sci-Fi
Technology
Gadgets
Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 2:44PM
NASA Wants Young Engineers to Make the Replicator from Star Trek
More than possibly any other franchise, Star Trek has predicted (and inspired) futuristic technologies that actually came to pass. The cellphone is the most famous example, but almost all of the most famous pieces of tech from the beloved series have become a reality.
Opening quote
"Star Trek's conversant computer we might now call Siri," Liz Kalodner, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Consumer Products, told Popular Science. "The universal translator influenced Google Translate, and Geordi La Forge's visor inspired Google Glass. As for today's virtual reality, it's really the Holodeck come to pass. Science fiction has become science reality."
Closing quote

Aside from a molecular scanner, which may come to fruition in the near future as well, one of the gadgets that's lacking a real-life counterpart is the Replicator, which can recycle matter into almost any object, primarily food and water for the characters on board the starships. The closest thing we have is arguably a 3-D printer, and that's the jumping-off point for NASA's new initiative to create a real-life Replicator.



In February, NASA and Star Trek began a contest via Future Engineers called the "Star Trek Replicator Challenge," which calls for K-12 students to create digital 3-D models of non-edible, food-related items for astronauts to 3-D print in the year 2050, which would include objects like silverware, flatware, cooking utensils, etc. The contest is open until May 1, at which time two grand prize winners will win trips to NYC and a chance to participate in the Intrepid Air and Space Museum's "Starfleet Academy" experience. Eight finalists will get a 3-D printer donated to their schools, and twenty semi-finalists will receive a prize pack from NASA and Made in Space.

Opening quote
"We want students to 'boldy go where no one has gone before' with 3D printing, by making designs that help astronauts eat nutritious meals so they can 'live long and prosper' in locations beyond the International Space Station."
Closing quote
Science
NASA
Science of Sci-Fi
Technology
Gadgets

Load Comments