Star Date 2387: Is This Thing On?

By David Battino
July 1, 2009 | Comments: 3

In an amusing press release, Blue Microphones reports that the new Star Trek movie is crawling with its Mouse microphones. Here's a photo of one apparently recording the young Captain Kirk.


"Over 30 Mouse mics were used in the filming of Star Trek, all of which can be seen on the podiums during the key Academy probation hearings," says Blue. "The 24th century design of the Mouse especially fits the style of the technology in the Star Trek universe."

Somehow I imagined that microphones of the future would be powered by lasers or nanotechnology, but who's to say future orators won't want a retro style on the outside? What are some other good examples of modern technology showcased in very different centuries in movies?

For more on Blue mics, see our review of the Snowflake, part of Blue's consumer line. And for a bolder glimpse at Star Trek-inspired audio, see our article The Annoying Future of Cell Phone Headsets.

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it's no secret i'm a star trek fan, and also old enough to remember watching TOS when it first aired. as a fan of j.j.abrams and BSG, i quite enjoyed the new movie's retro-scifi look and feel ... which also describes blue microphones: high-tech circuitry in a retro form (plus they sound great).

ironically, in the star trek universe, the microphone on the dais in front of kirk will later become one component of a "wearable computing" communications device, the size and shape of the insignia on his collar. here's how it works -- force fields.

isaac asimov once described force field technology as the ability to generate and control nuclear forces, the way we control electricty. on the enterprise, they use force fields for windows, tractor beams, in the brig, even to contain anti-matter ... and also, i imagine, for communications (that's why it sounds so good).

the commbadge is not only a transmitter/transceiver/locator/network connection, it also contains a low-power force field projection/modulation system that acts like a microphone's diaphragm. it projects an atomically-thin circular field about two inches in front of kirk's face that detects, with exquisite accuracy, the movement of the air molecules caused by his voice. the field tracks his head movements, so it's always positioned correctly, and is 100% permeable (you can't feel it).

speakers work the same way, by vibrating the air molecules in your ears. recording/playback sample rate is effectively infinite, since it scans at a quantum level (like the transporter). now, that's an accurate mic ...

- pdx

Peter Drescher, may I formally invite you to the Freak Hall of Fame. Comm Badges with force field transducers?


But about those comm badge force fields...while I like the idea of infinite sample rate, ca. the year 2150, it puts quite the pounding on your data plans, and those Verizon Galactic overage costs are just killers. Thus, the continued need several decades after the founding of the Federation, somehow, to keep transmitting voice at 8k sample rates.

- Jim

i think the preferred term is geek, rather than freak, but whatever, i'm a founding member. as a guy who watched TOS when it first aired, i've had a lot of time to think about the ramifications of star trek technology on mobile audio, starting with the flip-phone communicator (science fiction in 1966, now commonplace).

i will remind you that, in the star trek universe, replication technology made monetary systems obsolete, and verizon doesn't exist in the 22nd century. also, data is no longer measured in kilobytes - TNG quantum computers use "kiloquads", presumably a qubit storing thousands of values.

thus, audio recordings are no longer "sampled"; rather, a quantum representation of the sound is used for storage, transmission, and playback. given a technology that can completely and accurately determine the quantum states of your "mind / body" for transportation, the amount of information represented by a series of vibrating air molecules would be seem to be a trivial.

- pdx

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