Star Trek versus I, Phone

81l4iversus I Phone (Front Cover Rounded Cracked)

I’m still working on decorating a room up to be my new study.

This involved making a Star Trek pocket door, as you do, and I needed to find the stud behind the wall.  My usual technique is to buy a brand-new detector, wave it about near the wall to obtain inconclusive results and become confused.  Finally, I looked it up on the internet and discovered that there’s an app for this.

Seriously?  My phone has a built-in metal detector!  I had no idea.

And, while trying to download it, I found out that I already had this as part of Smart Tools.

So, I waved my phone like a tricorder near the wall, obtained pretty good results.  It worked better than the purpose-built gadget.

That’s extraordinary.

Which makes me wonder what else it can do?  Etheric beam location?

When I was writing I, Phone, I never in a million years thought that in the future a phone would have a metal detecting function.  Thankfully, the plot of I, Phone didn’t require metal detection, so I can still say it was in the specifications of my future artificially intelligent phones.  That’s good because the book is still holding out as a predictive SF work.

Star Trek had three gadgets used by a landing party: a communicator, a tricorder and a phaser.

Already we have a communicator and a tricorder, and they’re the same thing – the mobile phone.  True, the functionality is different, the communicating part requires phone masts everywhere and there are loads of things that a phone can’t scan (life forms, etheric beams and unknown energy sources) that a tricorder can.  However, it’s also true that on Star Trek, a communicator can’t text or Skype and you can’t play Angry Birds on a Tricorder, not even on Next Generation, so swings and roundabouts.

So, we just need to up the infra-red level on the remote control function to get a phaser.

Who knew what was in our pockets and – swish – a door opens on a whole new future.


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