The standard-issue Starfleet communicator of the 2260s is a marvel of Federation technology. The flip-top device is ruggedized for adverse interplanetary environments, outfitted with a transponder for transporter lock-on, and it’s capable of transmitting voice and data over thousands of kilometers -even through solid rock- without the aid of a cellular network.
Sadly, it is also completely fictitious. The communicator, a product of the keen imagination and amazing design talents of Desilu model-maker Wah Chang, burst into the public consciousness as a prop on the original Star Trek series of the 1960s, and served as inspiration for Motorola’s Dr. Martin Cooper to design and build the world’s first cellular telephone, which debuted in 1973.
The communicator is no longer entirely confined to the domain of science fiction, though. A handful of dedicated fans and tinkerers have taken advantage of the miniaturization of modern technology to bring the iconic Star Trek device closer to reality. One such craftsman has engineered and built a limited run of Bluetooth-based communicators, almost perfectly replicating the look, feel, and even a touch of the functionality of the famous flip-top comm toted by our heroes aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise almost fifty years ago – erm, 250 years from now.
Join me in the video review below as I conduct an examination of the modern-day communicator, and engage in more than my fair share of Starfleet tomfoolery.
Update: Communicator-maker Bink Burns’ original Bluetooth Communicator video can be found here.
Star Trek animations on Surface source: Vimeo