Gallery: Star Trek tech from Enterprise to Discovery to The Next Generation
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Get ready for Discovery
tTrek fans have been without a series since Enterprise went off the air in 2005. Now 12 years later there’s a new series getting ready to air: Star Trek: Discovery.
tEven before its initial air date of September 24 on CBS and CBS All Access, Discovery is dividing fans along various lines. Some want a show that goes beyond the Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager era instead of jumping back to the pre-Kirk era. Others are worried it’s going to be poorly produced, and still others think it’s going to be too much action and not enough cerebral sci-fi.
tWhether you’re a critic or a fan waiting in anticipation for Discovery, it’s still Star Trek, and that means you can expect a lot of new takes on old Trek tech. To celebrate we’ve compiled some of the most well-known treknology in this gallery. See how Discovery stacks up by clicking through.
Disclaimer: Both Star Trek: Discovery and TechRepublic are properties of CBS.
Star Trek: Enterprise phase pistol
The stubby phase pistol from Enterprise was a technological precursor to the phaser of later eras. It only had two settings: stun and kill. It also wasn’t powerful enough to vaporize a person.
Star Trek: Discovery phaser
Not much is known about the Discovery phaser except its look, which takes its inspiration from the Kirk-era phaser.
Star Trek: Original Series phaser
The original series phaser, in this case a Type 2, is shown here. It integrates with a smaller Type 1 phaser (the top black portion), which can be removed and used independently.
Star Trek: The Next Generation phaser
This is another example of a Type 2 phaser. TNG‘s look ditched the pistol grip for an ergonomically-designed, slightly curved model. It fits in perfectly with the attempt at future ergonomics that was a hallmark of TNG design.
Star Trek: Enterprise phase rifle
The phase rifle, like the phaser rifle after it, is a rarely-seen Trek weapon. Enterprise‘s were mainly wielded by MACO troops.
Star Trek: Discovery phaser rifle
While it arguably has more in common with Enterprise‘s phase rifle than it does with the original series, the Discovery rifle looks pretty sharp.
StarTrek.com does mention that the heat coils on the side were designed to mimic Kirk’s iconic phaser rifle.
Star Trek: Original Series phaser rifle
It’s hard to have heard of Star Trek and not seen this iconic shot from the original series’ second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before. You can’t get much more cheesy ’60s Trek than this thing.
Star Trek: The Next Generation phaser rifle
The Next Gen phaser rifle is the clunkiest looking of the group. It looks like the prop department was on a deadline, leading them to tear apart a bunch of random gizmos from engineering for repurposing.
Star Trek: Discovery Klingon disruptor
Everything about Discovery‘s Klingons has fans up in arms, and these spike-covered weapons might raise more ire despite how awesome they look.
But Discovery has justification for its Klingons of a different shade: A recent interview with Discovery’s co-executive producer Ted Sullivan reveals that the Klingons seen thus far are actually from a separatist house that’s been isolated for 200 years. They’re puritanical in their devotion to Kahless and are decked out in antique Klingon gear.
Star Trek: Original Series Klingon disruptor
The original series Klingons were a breed apart from their past and future brethren. They seem to have ditched the dark, spike-covered, and intimidating weapons of the pre and post-Kirk eras for atomic-age ray guns. Maybe their aesthetic choices vanished with their foreheads.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Klingon disruptor
Here’s the disruptor I know and love. I even had the toy Playmates one when I was younger, and I had to continually invent reasons why a young Starfleet officer–me–would have a Klingon disruptor on so many away missions.
Star Trek: Enterprise scanner
Like the phase pistol, the crew of the NX-01 Enterprise didn’t have tricorders yet: They had scanners. These tiny, handheld devices did most of the same stuff but were “more primitive,” yet they were somehow still a fraction of the size of the tricorders that came after them.
Star Trek: Discovery tricorder
The Discovery tricorder obviously takes its cues from the original series. It’s big, bulky, and even has a lot of similar-looking buttons.
Star Trek: Original Series tricorder
Take the Discovery tricorder and add a flip-up screen and a bit more ’60s, and you get this black box.
Star Trek: The Next Generation tricorder
It’s smaller, it has more buttons, and it blinks in a dozen different colors and locations. The tricorder of the TNG era was a heck of a thing. Who knows how it works or what those countless buttons did, but it did them all in a magnificent way.
Star Trek: Enterprise communicator
Enterprise‘s communicators, like much of the handheld tech of the series, are tiny. It’s hard to see in this image featuring Scott Bakula’s Captain Archer, but that little grey square is the equivalent of the golden antenna grill of Kirk-era communicators. I wonder where that pocket-sized ship-to-ground technology went.
Star Trek: Discovery communicator
Discovery‘s communicator is obviously inspired by the original, but somehow it still manages to look more futuristic.
Star Trek: Original Series communicator
You could easily make the argument that this little device is responsible for an entire era in mobile communication aesthetics.
Star Trek: The Next Generation communicator
Those unfamiliar with Trek may have a hard time picking out the communicator in this picture: It’s the badge on Captain Picard’s chest. By the TNG era Trek communicators had gone completely hands-free and wearable.
It’s much more likely this is the way the future is headed, especially with cellular-capable smartwatches in the world. Though arguably that’s more in the Star Trek: The Motion Picture theme.
Star Trek: Enterprise transporter room
The crew of the NX-01 didn’t transport themselves very often–it was still an unreliable piece of technology. Sadly, for those in the future of the Trek world, things didn’t get that much better–accidents were a constant plot point.
Star Trek: Discovery transporter room
This bizarre transporter room is reportedly not the one on the Discovery, but is actually from the Shenzhou, another ship that will feature in the early episode(s?) of the new series.
Star Trek: Original Series transporter room
The original, complete with state-of-the-art transportation effects.
Star Trek: The Next Generation transporter room
This one doubled as the transporter for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and looks decidedly more futuristic.
Trivia: The ceiling of the Enterprise-D transporter room is the floor from the original series.
Star Trek: Discovery cybernetics
Not much is known about this Discovery crew member from the latest trailer, but she does appear to have a cybernetic apparatus attached to her head. Cybernetics have always been a part of Star Trek, and perhaps she’ll be the latest character to wear technology as part of her daily life.
Star Trek: Original Series cybernetics
One of the most recognizable uses of cybernetics in the original series of Star Trek comes from Captain Pike’s wheelchair. It sustains his life after a serious training accident, and hooks to his brain to allow him to steer it and respond yes or no to questions.
Star Trek: The Next Generation cybernetics
Geordi La Forge is definitely the most famous cyborg in Star Trek history. Blind from birth, La Forge sees through his VISOR, and later cybernetic eyes. The VISOR gives him a much larger spectrum of vision than that of normal humans, which saved many a crewmate from disaster during TNG‘s run.
Star Trek: Enterprise: The ship
The NX-01 Enterprise was the first starship to bear the name, and was the first NX class ship to be built.
Star Trek: Discovery: The ship
The USS Discovery takes a large part of its design from Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie’s Star Trek concept art. McQuarrie did Enterprise concepts for a scrapped Trek film, and his design is finally seeing the light of day in the Discovery.
Another view of the USS Discovery
Star Trek: Original Series: The ship
“NCC-1701. No bloody A, B, C, or D.”
It’s probably the most iconic spaceship in the history of science fiction, and it deserves to be.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: The ship
tThe fifth ship (with an NCC registry) to bear the name Enterprise. It’s just about as iconic as the original, at least to me: It defined a large era of my childhood.
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