Starship Technology

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Transporter Technology

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The transporter is probably the single greatest revolution in the movement of people and goods in recorded history; invented in 2205, this device cut trans-planetary transport times to near zero at a stroke.

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The basic operating principles of the transporter are relatively simple. It makes a detailed scan of the subject, breaks down its molecular structure, then transmits this beam to another location. The information gained from the scan is then used to reassemble the subject exactly as before. Like many simple ideas, the actual engineering required to construct a working transporter are quite more complex. A standard transporter unit consists of ten major components :

The Transport Chamber is the area in which the subject is placed for transport. The transport chamber can be of almost any size or shape, though larger chambers have far greater energy requirements and are correspondingly less efficient for general use. Most transport chambers are capable of holding approximately six persons.


The Operators Console is the control unit of the whole system; these consoles are typically manned by a single operator who oversees the transport process and is responsible for reacting to emergency situations, as well as conducting routine maintenance of the transporter systems.

The Transporter Controller is a dedicated computer system which controls the minutiae of the transport process itself.

The Primary Energizing Coils are located directly above the transport chamber. These coils generate the annular confinement beam, creating a space-time matrix within which the dematerializing process occurs. The primary energizing coils also generate a containment field around the subject in order to prevent any possible breach of the annular confinement beam during the transport process. This is important as such disruption can result in a sizeable energy discharge.

The Phase Transition Coils are located in the floor of the transport chamber. It is the phase transition coils that cause the actual dematerialisation/materialisation process. They do this be decoupling the binding energy between the subatomic particles of the subject, causing the atoms themselves to disintegrate.

Transporter overview

Molecular Imaging Scanners are located in the roof of the transport chamber. These devices scan the subject to be transported at quantum resolution, determining the location and momentum of every particle within the subject. Bulk cargo can be scanned at the molecular resolution, as it is not generally vital to recreate the object exactly. Living matter requires that exact information be obtained, a process which violates the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. This is made possible by the Heisenberg Compensator system, a component of the molecular imaging scanners of all personnel transport systems. All transporters are built with four redundant sets of scanners, allowing any three to override a fourth should it make an error. Should two scanners produce the same error the transport process would be aborted automatically by the transport controller system.

The Pattern Buffer is a large super conducting tokamak device, usually situated directly underneath the transporter unit itself. Once the subject has been dematerialized they are passed into the pattern buffer and held in suspension while the system compensates for relative motion between itself and the target location. Pattern buffers can be shared by several different transport systems, although only one transporter can use a given buffer at a time. Should an emergency arise during transport a pattern can be held suspended in a transport buffer without being either sent or dematerialized; however, after a few minutes such a pattern will begin to degrade to the point at which the subject will be unrecoverable.

The Biofilter is an image processing device which analyses the data from the molecular imaging scanner in order to locate any potentially damaging organisms which may have infected the subject. The biofilter is not generally a part of civilian transporter systems, though it is mandatory on all Starfleet transporters.

The Emitter Pad Array is mounted on the exterior of the transport system itself - in the case of a spacecraft, on the hull of the ship. The array transmits the actual matter stream to or from the destination. Components of the emitter array include the phase transition matrix and primary energizing coils. Some transporter systems also contain clusters of long range molecular imaging scanners within the emitter pad; this allows the system to lock onto targets at long range to beam them from remote locations without outside assistance. Most transporter systems do not include long range molecular scanners; such transporters can only beam to and from other other systems.

Targeting Scanners are a set of redundant sensors which are responsible for determining the exact location of the destination in relation to the transporter unit. Targeting scanners also determine the environmental conditions at the target site. Although dedicated targeting scanners should ideally be a component of any transport process, in practice any sensor device of sufficient range and accuracy can provide the required information so long as it is compatible with the transporter controller information protocols. In addition, if transport is being conducted between systems with a fixed relative position - planetary transporter units, for example - targeting information can be disregarded.

The precise operation of a transporter naturally depends on the level of system specifications. Starfleet transporters are generally reckoned to be the most advanced in the Federation, since they are required to perform a wider range of tasks over much more variable conditions than civilian models. A typical operations for Starfleet transporters include the following :

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Beam up involves using the emitter array as the primary energizing coil in order to beam a subject from a remote location which does not have a transporter system.

Site-to-site transport involves following the conventional beam up process until the subject is in the pattern buffer; the subject is then shunted to a second pattern buffer and on to another emitter array before being beamed out to a new location. This process essentially merges two transport processes in order to allow a subject to be beamed from one location to another without having to rematerialise on board ship first. This process is avoided if possible since it requires double the energy expenditure and system resources to accomplish each transport.

Hold in pattern buffer. As described, the pattern buffer can be used to hold a subject essentially is stasis. Normally these patterns will degrade after just a few minutes at most, though on one occasion a specially modified transporter held a subject intact for seventy five years.

Dispersal. Although transporter systems are designed to beam a subject to or from a destination intact, it is possible to override the safety systems on a standard Starfleet transporter and cause it to deliberately disperse the subject over a wide area. This is done by disengaging the annular confinement beam during rematerialization, depriving the subject of a proper reference matrix to form against. Such a measure may be used in order to neutralize a dangerous payload such as a bomb or other weapon; the measure is frequently complemented by materializing the subject in space.

Near warp transport is achieved by careful shifting of the ACB frequency. This can be an uncomfortable experience for those who go through it, and on occasion can even be dangerous.

Warp transport can be achieved by the same method as near warp transport; this is only effective if the origin and destination are moving at the same warp speed. Transport between locations moving with different warp speeds result in a catastrophic loss of pattern integrity - this is fatal to living organisms.


Artificial Gravity Devices

Artificial gravity and inertial damping is achieved by machinery which function according to the same principles as those used in tractor beam technology. A controlled graviton field is projected by devices dispersed throughout the habitable sections of the hull.

This explains why there is still gravity on starships during a total power failure.


Bussard Ramscoop

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Named for the 20th century physicist and mathematician Robert W. Bussard, the Bussard Ramscoop is capable of collecting low-grade interstellar matter through a series of high-energy magnetic coils. A Bussard collector is found at the forward end of each of the warp drive nacelles. The assembly consists of three main elements: an ionizing beam emitter (IBE, which charges neutral particles in space), a magnetic field generator / collector (MFG/C, a set of coils that cast a magnetic "net" ahead of the ship and pull in the charged particles), and the continuous cycle fractionator (CCF, which separates the incoming gasses). The interstellar matter collected can be used as fuel in the event a deuterium tanker cannot reach the ship for normal refueling.


Inertial Damping Field

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Operating in Parallel with the structural integrity field (SIF) system is the intertial damping field system (IDF). This system generates a controlled series of variable-symmetry forcefields that serve to absorb the inertial forces of spaceflight which would otherwise cuase fatal injury to the crew. The IDF is generated seperately from the SIF, but is fed by a parallel series of waveguides that are then conducted through synthetic gravity plates.

The IDF operates by maintaining a low-level forcefield throughout the habitable volume of the spacecraft. This field averages 75 millicochranes with field differential limited to 5.26 nanocochranes/meter, per SFRA-standard 352.12 for crew exposure to subspace fields.

As acceleration effects are anticipated, this field is distorted along a vector diametrically opposed to the velocity change. The IDF thereby absorbs the intertial potential, which would otherwise have acted upon the crew. There is a characteristic lag time for the shifting of IDF direction and intensity. This lag varies with the net acceleration involved, but averages 295 milliseconds for normal impulse maneuvers. Because IDF control is generally derived from Flight Controller data, normal course corrections can be anticipated so there is rarely any noticeable acceleration to the crew. Exceptions to this sometimes occur when sudden maneuvers or other externally caused acceleration occur more rapidly than the system can respond.

Flux generation for the IDF is provided by four field generators. Each generator consists of a cluster of twelve 500 kW graviton polarity sources feeding a pair of 150 millicochrane subspace field distortion amplifiers. Heat dissipation on each unit is provided by a pair of 100,000 MJ/hr continous duty liquid helium coolant loops. Three backup generators are located in each hull, providing up to twelve hours of service at 65 percent of maximum rated power. Normal duty cycle on generators is forty-eight hours online, with nominal twelve hours degauss are rated for 2,500 operating hours between routine servicing of superconductive elements.


Cloaking Device

A cloaking device is an energy screen generator used to render an object (typically, a space vehicle) invisible to the eye and to most sensor systems. This is accomplished by gravitational lensing, the creation of a distorted image of an object when it's light is focused by gravity. In the case of a cloaking device, the light is focused so that the object's index of refraction (the phase velocity of radiation in free space divided by the phase velocity of the same radiation in a specified medium) matches its surroundings, making the object transparent. Cloaking a ship requires precisely balancing the radiative emissions from the warp drive nacelles, dissipating all electromagnetic radiation, gravitational fields and other energy emissions emanating from the ship, and distorting space in such a way that electromagnetic radiation and energy emissions are directed around the ship through subspace at velocities faster than light.

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Then suddenly, it vanished from the sensors, reappeared directly in front of the outpost and fired what later came to be called a "plasma torpedo". The torpedo obliterated the outpost's deflector screens, nearly destroying it. A second shot finished the intruder's job. Then the ship simply disappeared from view. That was the first encounter with the Romulans after almost a century since the battle of Cheron. The vessel that destroyed S-4023 (and also S-4024 and S-4025) was a Romulan P-1A Bird of Prey with a first generation cloaking device. Later, a third generation cloaking device has been obtained by the U.S.S. Enterprise in an espionage mission.

Klingon ship cloaking.
Cloaking Device.

The Klingons Empire gained the technology from their alliance with the Romulans in exchange for their D-6 Raxor and D-7 Klolode battle cruisers. Thus the three major powers in this part of the galaxy came to posses what proved to be one of the most formidable weapons ever.

The Klingon Empire has used the cloaking technology ever since their technology exchange with the Romulans in 2263, and continues to do so. Nearly all of its Bird of Prey type ships are equipped with it as are the D- 6, D-7, D-8 (K'T'Inga), and the new K'Vort class battle cruisers.

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The Klingon Empire naturally still uses the cloaking device. Although much about them is now unknown due to the fifty-year contact breach after the Tomad incident, it is certain that their newest vessels, the D'Deridex class warbirds, are equipped with a new generation of cloaking devices which have so far defied all Federation attempts at detection without the use of tachyons.

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In 2358, the Starship Pegasus was commanded by Captain Erik Pressman. The crew compliment included Lieutenant Boylen and Ensign William Riker, on his first assignment out of the Academy. At the time, the Pegasus was conducting a secret test of a Federation interphase cloaking device, in violation of the Treaty of Algeron.

U.S.S. Pegasus

Several members of the crew, including the first officer and chief engineer, objected to the illegal test, and mutinied in an attempt to shut down the cloaking device.

These events surrounding the U.S.S. Pegasus that used in this controversial cloaking device experiments several years ago, is still considered a classified matter by Starfleet Command. However, as speculation, it is indeed possible that the initial experiments may have continued behind the scenes, for what remained of the vessel and mission data being at some time recovered (I would have thought that Starfleet would not leave it marooned in that asteroid for the Romulans to get hold of). But the exact whereabouts and status of the vessel, and under whose authority the matter lies, is still unknown.

Romulan ship cloaking.


The Interphase Cloak

This is a cloaking device that manipulates the molecular structure of matter in a way that it is transferred to a parallel space. Matter cloaked with an interphase generator is not only invisible to conventional natural and artificial sensors, it is also able to penetrate normal matter. An interphase generator was installed in the U.S.S. Pegasus in 2358, although cloaking devices are prohibited in the Federation according to the Algeron Treaty (TNG: "The Pegasus"). The Romulans tested such a cloaking device in 2368. When the experiment failed and the Enterprise arrived to assist the Romulan ship, Geordi and Laren were affected by this device and disappeared. However, while being in phase, they were still able to stand on the floor and breathe normal air (TNG: "The Next Phase"). The shown effects are much too inconsistent to determine whether the cloaked object disappears to a parallel dimension or to subspace or anywhere else.

The Treaty of Algeron (between the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire) did not stop Starfleet Intelligence from secretly and illegally developing the Interphase Cloaking Device, a device which not only rendered a starship invisible, but also allowed it to pass through solid matter unimpeded. The device was lost in 2358 when the test-bed vessel, the U.S.S. Pegasus as mentioned above, was destroyed in a mutiny by members of the crew concerned about the legality of the test.

In 2370, the existence of the illegal device was made public to the Romulans. (TNG: "The Pegasus") In 2368 the Romulans also unsuccessfully experimented with phased cloaking technology. The USS Enterprise-D had received a distress signal from the test-bed vessel, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard ordered an away team sent over to assist. During the mission, due to a malfunction in the device, Ensign Ro Laren and Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge were phase-cloaked during beam-out, and rematerialized on different parts of the Enterprise. After several attempts to bring them back, the crew gave up, believing them dead. Soon, Ro and La Forge encountered a similarly phase-cloaked Romulan officer that had followed them to the Enterprise in an attempt to keep the new cloaking device a secret. They fought off the Romulan, who was trying to kill them, and threw him through a bulkhead and out of the Enterprise completely. Eventually, Ro and La Forge succeeded in revealing what had happened to them to the crew, and Lieutenant Commander Data managed to reverse the effects of the cloak, bringing them back into phase. (TNG: "The Next Phase")

Cloaking devices have been classified into the following categories according to their overall effectiveness:

Mk 1 Cloak: Original usage, early Warbirds only. Used electromagnetic radiation shielding quite effectively to cloak only visible and near-visible radiation. Can instantaneously cloak and decloak, but required large amounts of power.

Mk 2 Cloak: A major improvement on the Mk 1, this device cloaked all electromagnetic radiation, except high energy Gamma rays. Can instantaneously cloak and decloak, but was remarkably inefficient. Craft: Romulan Scouts and Warbirds, also Klingon D-7 Cruisers, and later the joint Romulan/Klingon scout and Bird Of Prey.

Mk 3.0 Cloak: The first gravity distorting cloak. The early prototype craft had problems with energetic effects occurring inside the cloak as a result of trapped spurious thermal emissions within the cloaking field. This was overcome by giving the craft a green coloration. This tuned the thermal energy to a frequency where it could leak very slowly through the cloak without revealing the ships presence, still common practice on most cloaked vessels. This early Mk 3 had only the spherical field setting and could not be effectively wave-mapped. It could not instantly cloak and decloak, but saw much use on most Romulan craft and the Bird Of Prey.

Mk 3.1 Cloak: This improved device featured instantaneous propagation of the spherical cloak, and first saw use of the wave-mapped cloak. It is reported to have been used as above and as an upgraded cloak for D-7 Cruisers. A green coloration was still necessary.

Mk 3.2 Cloak: This version saw the creation of the fine tuned cloak, using the special dedicated computers. This device was perhaps first created by the Klingons, but required large power reserves. The Romulans later reworked the idea into a more efficient form (officially designated the Mark 3.2a). The old cloak is still in active service on older Klingon craft.

Mk 3.2a Cloak: Romulan reworking of the 3.2. No special coloration of the craft is necessary, although the nullifier cores require less energy when the ship has a green colour. The cloak is still extensively used by Romulans and Klingons alike.

Mk 3.3 Cloak: This latest version allowed powering down of all non-finely tuned cloaks instantly. It is only fitted, as far as is known, to Romulan Warbirds. Klingons claim to still use the 3.2a.

Experimental Mk 4 Cloak: There is an experimental cloaking device which utilizes a highly-wave-mapped, adaptive, asymmetrical dispersion pattern. This cloaking device's cloaking generator coils are equipped with field actuators that change the dispersion pattern, to be most efficient in any interstellar condition, considering many variables, such as gas density, electric and magnetic fields, and fluctuations in the subspace domain. These field actuators compensate for any of these variables or active scans if the vicinity of the cloaked ship is being probed. There is no danger of a spatial ripple occurring. This would render a ship undetectable, except with a tachyon heterodyne detection grids, which, if powerful enough, could detect a ship that was cloaked in this manner.

Star Fleet, which used the cloaking device on its vessels in the late 2200's and early 2300's, has decided that the peaceful (mostly) mission definition of the Explorer type of starships precludes its use. Further- more, the overall shape and hull materials used in the Galaxy, Ambassador, and Oberth Class starships would interfere with the cloaking device. Although it is still possible to cloak them, the energy necessary increases beyond reasonable limit. Today, only specialized scouting, stealth, and battle ships use cloaking devices.


Holodeck Technology

Holodeck

The primary use of Holodecks are generally to escape for a few minutes in places far removed from the life of the Federation officer. Holodecks are also an invaluable training aid. Some may use the Holodeck to recreate home and family. Others may wish to be far removed from such constraints. The only limits are that duplication of actual living crewmembers without their consent is severely frowned upon. Virtually anything is possible using the latest Holodeck programming. There have even been some indications that Holodeck programming can "get away" (for lack of a better term) from the creators. Others may find that the Holodeck world that they have created is too good to be far away from. Holodecks are cheap, legal, and can be addictive, - not a few humanoids will find a well-created fantasy world to be more rewarding and interesting than the real one. Starfleet personnel are supposed to be made of sterner stuff, but not always.

Another problem is Holo Transference Dementia Syndrome (or HTDS), a form of Delusion in which the character comes to identify with a character in a Holo program so much that they come to believe that they -are- that character. In Starfleet, Security and the ship's Counselor monitor crew who seem to be making too much use of the Holodecks or who seem to be growing too dependant on them.

Holodeck programmers are in great demand, and certain programs are valuable. Currently popular in the Federation are "Holonovels" - Holodeck programs constructed to make the user a central character in a classic work of fiction. There are Holodecks on almost all Federation ships and bases, and they are a regular feature of prominant bars. Holodeck programs are regularly traded among Federation ships as they meet in space. Individuals generally get good Holodeck programmers to create Holodeck programs based on one or more of their ideas.


Communicators

Combadge communicator.

Communicators used by the Federation, Romulans, Klingons, Borg and Ferengi are all similar in nature and are considered fast FTL radios. With support from a ship in orbit they have a range of about 50,000 km; without support on a planet, they allow line-of-sight communications to a distance of 500 km. They can be comm badge types, like the Federation currently uses, or hand-held. Transporters can lock onto this signal in order to increase reliability of transport. Comm badges are also used to give the location of individuals on starbase and starships. The badges can adhere to almost any surface using a magnatomic adhesion area. They are powered by a rechargeable Saurium Krellide crystal that provides continuous usage for two weeks. They can be security coded to particular individuals.

Communicators are also used in combat situations by providing a personal transponder which will help prevent casualties from friendly fire. This ability can be deactivated.


Isolinear Chips

These nanotech devices represent a number of significant advances over the crystal memory cards in earlier systems.

These chips make use of single-axis optical crystal layering to achieve subwavelength switching distances. Nanoimpulse matrix techniques yield a total memory capacity of 2.15 kiloquads per chip in standard holographic format.

Like earlier crystal memory devices, isolinear chips optimize memory access by employing onboard nanoprocessors. In these devices, however, higher processing speeds permit individual chips to manage data configuration independent of LCARS control, thus reducing system access time by up to 7 percent. Additionally, the chip substrate is infused with trace quantities of superconductive platinum/irridium, which permits FTL optical data transmission when energized by the core's subspace flux. The results in a dramatic 335 percent increase in processing speed when used in one of the main computer cores.

Isolinear chips can be ruggedized with the application of a protective tripolymer sealant over the refractive interface surface. This allows the chip to be handled without protective gloves. When so treated, isolinear chips are used as a convenient form of information transport. Many portable data handling devices such as tricorders, PADD's, and optical chip readers are able to read and write to standard format isolinear chips.


Magnetic Boots

These are large shoes that allow a user to walk along bulkheads or on Starship hulls in low-G or zero-G conditions. Movement is reduced 1/2 unless the user is skilled with their use. There are two types: one is fitted like shoes for indoor use and located in emergency lockers on most ships, the other type is designed to be fitted onto any Vacc Suit.


PADD =

PADD stands for Personal Access Display Device. They are small hand-held units, specifically configured for individual users. They function (sort of) like a small Tricorder, with much more limited abilities. They can be configured for different functions, depending on the whims of the owner. Every officer in Starfleet will be issued a PADD which they then configure for their own needs. Typically, PADDs are programmed to help with normal Starfleet duties. They are similar to small multi-purpose computers.


Replicators

A replicator.

Replicators can "duplicate" any item that they have a pattern for. They are considered by these rules to be a specialized form of Transporters. Replicators scan items for data storage, and then place the results of that scan into the ship's memory storage systems. They use a small quantity of the matter in storage for the ship's engines to convert into the item required. They are primarily used to provide a wider variety of food choices than would be possible if the food components were to be carried on board ships. Most personnel cannot tell the difference between standard food and replicated food, however a few do claim to be able to tell the difference. Replicators cannot reproduce items that they do not have patterns for. Nor can they produce materials on the quantum level, only the molecular level. Thus they can be used to manufacture items or repair portions of a Starship, but these items or repairs will never be as stable or durable as a purposefully-manufactured item. In general, Replicators are used only to produce food, disposable clothing, and emergency items.


Tricorders

A tricorder.

The Tricorder is (sort of) a Swiss-Army knife of hand-held computing units, containing a powerful on-board computer, sensors, and subspace transceiver to link up with the main computer on board a ship in orbit.

Current Federation models are small, hand-held boxes weighing 353 grams that swing open to reveal a display screen and controls. They are powered by a rechargeable Saurium Krellide crystal that can provide 18 hours of continuous usage, longer with power conservation features activated.

The Tricorder concept is very simple: combine a suite of sensors for material, energy, and biological analysis with a computerized record/playback mechanism. A small computer provides limited on-site analysis of the readings and presents the results to the user. Over the years, this concept has been refined, as more powerful computers drive more sensitive sensors with greater range. The basic concept remains the same: it detects, it analyzes, it records, and it presents the results to the user.

Most historians attribute Tricorders to Vulcans, who have been using miniature computer analysis tools for centuries. The truth is, many advanced cultures developed similar devices as they matured. The Vulcans have a history of relying on the Tricorder for a wide variety of uses, and they submitted the first prototypes in the early days of the Federation.

A Tricorder's strength rests in the hands of the operator. It is not an independent probe, but merely a tool that, when used by someone properly trained, can improve individual performance in a variety of applications.

It can accept input from the front panel keys or by voice commands. It also has the following software and capabilities on board:

  • Biosampler
  • Bioscanner
  • Chemscanner
  • Datalink
  • Electronics Repair
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Multiscanner
  • Radscanner
  • Some of these functions are described below:


Radscanner

Used to scan for energy, power and radiation sources of all kinds including radar and radio signals, not just radioactivity. Radscanners can also pick up the scanning radiation of the other types of scanners, but radscanners are passive detectors and cannot be scanner-detected themselves. Major sensor in security measures.


Chemscanner

Used to scan for minerals, metals and chemical compounds. Used in "customs".


Bioscanner

Highly specialized chemscanners that locate the characteristic complex molecules produced by life-forms. If a person's genetic pattern has been previously scanned (requiring a detailed analysis) a bioscanner can even be set to detect a specific individual.


Ultrascanner

Can take x-ray holograms of the interiors of any object (vehicle, house, person, etc.). It can scan and record one cubic yard per second. Has a range of 500 yards.


Tricorders can maintain and store vast amounts of data in their own memory, which they use to help evaluate data collected on site.

Through the Datalink software and the subspace transceiver assembly, the Tricorder can instantly download or upload data to the ship's computer, as long as the ship's computer is in range. Special programs may also be run and/or stored on-board, depending on circumstances, such as: Expert System: Biochemistry being used to sample planetary conditions, etc.

The Tricorder's most important function is finding things. The standard TR-580 can detect minerals, power sources, life forms, and a wide range of other items. Detection range varies with the size of the object being sought. A unit set to detect power supplies, for example, can detect an in-use battery at 1000 meters, a Starship in orbit, or a planet's sun if properly used.

Specialists gain a further advantage with the use of a Tricorder. By using the Tricorder's analysis capabilities in concert with specialty skills, you can greatly enhance your evaluation of whatever you examine. Note that you must be fairly close to your subject to get an accurate analysis. The smaller the subject, the closer you need to be.

There are also specialized Tricorders for Science, Medicine, Psychology (Psychotricorders), Engineering and even Combat (see the Ramrock-X5). Tricorders can also have external hand-held sensing devices.

The specialized Psychotricorder works very much like the generic ones. The only difference is it's ability to gather neural impulses from the areas of the brain linked to short-term memories. Once the information is gathered, the Psychotricorder data is linked to the computer in an attempt to have it translated into a visual record.

This isn't always successful or very precise. The results will often be confusing or disconnected as the computer tries to interpret images from nothing more than a few electrical pulses.


Universal Translators

Universal Translators are used to provide real-time two-way translations of spoken languages. These are sophisticated computer programs stored on board Starship computer banks. These programs analyze samples of alien languages and derive translations within minutes, although much more extensive analysis is necessary before they may be used for diplomatic functions. Away Teams may access the Universal Translator programs with their Comm Badges via subspace links.