From Sci-Fi to Reality
While growing up watching Star Trek, I was always fascinated by the devices and gadgets they used. One that stood out to me was the Tricorder. Whenever someone is unwell or injured, Dr.McCoy takes a small device from his pocket and scan the person with it. Within seconds the tricorder gives a diagnostic about the person’s condition. This made think what if such a device existed in our society? A device by which we can just use to diagnose different and multiple conditions instantaneously. The possible impact and the benefit it can provide for those in remote areas who have difficulty accessing medical facilities.
If someone talked to me about the tricorder without narration, I might not have even remembered what a tricorder actually is. However, embedding the device within the context of the series made it memorable. As Joseph Corn’s puts it in his study “history of the future”, seeing the future through popular culture have been a powerful force in creating and forming desire for technological advancement. A good example of this is the Xprize qualcomm tricorder competition. It is a competition that is held by Xprize, non-profit organization who pushes for scientific innovation to solve grand challenges. They are trying to bring the tricorder concept into reality.
Teams from different countries compete to come up with physical prototypes for the device. I believe that design fiction played a huge role for paving the way for this competition. When making new technology, there is always obstacles such as funds and public acceptance of a new concept. To reduce development obstacles, Xprize are using Star Treck popular series to elicit interest and catch people’s attention. Thus, using sci-fi to promote the need for and potential implication of such invention.
Below is the video used by the foundation to promote the competition.
3) Kirby, D. 2010. The Future is Now: Diegetic Prototypes and the Role of Popular Films in Generating Real-world Technological Development.