The Star Trek Communicator Is So Last Century!

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star_trek_classic_communicatorDuring the Twentieth Century, we saw communications evolve from encoded text (Morse code, teletype, et al) to analog and then digital phone systems. In the early part of the Twenty-First century, we have seen the emergence of portable hand-held wireless devices that we call SmartPhones, but these are really small computers with voice phone services as but one of the many “apps” that are available. In the not-so-distant future, we may very well see wearable or even embedded technologies that allow US to become the SmartPhone! Who needs the Twentieth Century version of a Star Trek communicator when you simply need to tap your wrist, touch your earring, or blink your eye to make a call?

Twenty years ago, the concept of a SmartPhone/minicomputer in your pocket seemed like science fiction to most of us. Today, we are considered passé if we aren’t looking to upgrade to the next generation of “phone” every year! Wearable technology – smart watches, tech clothing, etc. – are already forecasted to generate more than $4 billion in revenue this year, and the industry is only in the early days of its evolution!

Technology is driving communications to an ever smaller footprint but there are limits in size and heat dispersal for silicon-based computing. That is where the next possible technology breakthrough comes in. Engineers at Stanford University are working with carbon nanotubes as a successor to silicon that will operate faster with a lower demand for energy than silicon chips.

SmartPhones helped to move voice communications away from the traditional telephone handset that was tethered to the wall into the palm of our hands. Ten years from now, we may be placing calls or participating in video sessions without holding anything other than perhaps a specially-designed pair of glasses! For, there will continue to be the need to facilitate and process calls. What will certainly change is the end-user device that will be used for those calls. No more Star Trek communicators, flip phones, or SmartPhones! Just tap an earring to answer that call!


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