Fans of Star Trek have long been fascinated with the “technology” developed on the show, though skeptics of the day were often derisive in their reviews of the Star Trek vision. Modern medical science has come to the rescue of all Trekkies by bringing to the real world (the “real” real world) much that Kirk and his crew took for granted. Among the myriad examples of technological wizardry available today are some that have already been battle-star tested. Below are some examples of medical gadgets in use today; those with Star Trek “origins” are noted.
- The Little Mermaid – Designed for endoscopy, the Mermaid is a small camera-equipped capsule capable of snapping two pictures every second. It was developed in Japan by a team of university researchers.
- Jet Injectors – Compressed air or gas directly injects liquid through the skin, eliminating the need for a steel needle. Trekkies are familiar with the Hypospray, which did basically did the same thing.
- Mini Monitors – Palm-sized units, suitable for home use, are now available that can track vital signs from heart-rate to blood pressure to body temperature and more. These little guys make it easier for home-bound patients to record information that their care-givers can utilize.
- Prosthetics – It wasn’t long ago that prosthetic devices were little more advanced than what Capt. Hook sported, but medical technology has come a long way in a short period of time. Prostheses have advanced to the point where they can rival natural limbs in utility function.
- Miniature Mass Spectrometer – A hand held unit used to trace food contaminants among other functions. An MMS can also help detect cancer in the liver, though it won’t tell you if a time-traveler has been nearby, as will the Star Trek equivalent, the Tricorder.
- Needle-Free Glucose Monitor – People hate to jab themselves with needles, and they especially hate to do it repetitively. Glucose monitoring until recently has been nothing but self-inflicted pain, which doesn’t lead to good health maintenance. Echo Therapeutics has come out with a commercially available needle-free product that can monitor glucose and deliver medication. echotx.com
- iPad – Cancer education for children is the point behind the activities of Donna’s Good Things, DonnasGoodThings.org The iPads are used by both care-givers and patients to help the children through difficult times.
- Jordy – Jordy (Joint Optical Reflective DisplaY) is a device that was actually named after a Star Trek character. The Trekkie gadget was called the Visor (Visual Instrument ans Sensory Organ Replacement) and enabled the blind to “see”. The Jordy is a marvelous tool that enables many with serious vision problems (20/70 or worse) to read and write and even watch TV. Some low vision problems such as macular degeneration and glaucoma can become untreatable with regular prescription lenses.
- Watches – Wristwatches today can do a lot more than just tell time. Now a watch can measure your heart rate, count your calories and tell you when your next medication is due. BestMedicalDirect.com
- Dr. Smart Phone – No, not a real doctor, but cell phones now have medical-related capabilities that are astounding, for everyone from the patient to nurses to doctors. Skyscape.com Some phones are even equipped to detect airborne toxins and explosives residue.
Even Mr. Spock didn’t have everything we mere Earthlings have at our disposal.