To boldly go where no phone has gone before

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
In the late 90s, watching people walking around with flip phones and talking while walking on the streets was a sign of a higher status. It was THE modern gadget of the day unlike the traditional phones back at home where we placed our fingers on each number and rotated the dial for each number individually to call somebody. The mobile was a cool gadget that could actually fit in our pockets. We did not have to by heart phone numbers anymore! Or need a calendar to see the date! It even had an alarm clock, by Toutatis!
It was something new. It was the future.

Of course, even on the planet Xorg, the caller tune was 
Himesh Reshammiya's 'Tandoori Nights' by default  
Except for one small detail… you see, Captain James T Kirk and his crew had been using that same device on his ship during the 1960’s iconic show “Star Trek.”
The 60’s, mind you, when we had yet to land on the moon.

The flip phone had never been the future. It was just the culmination of a long wait – between what was imagined and what was created. It took three decades but mobile companies finally made the iconic Star Trek Communicator into a device that could be used by ordinary people everywhere in the world.
Other aspects of ‘science fiction’ from the show would eventually become an everyday reality, including:
1)      Handsfree talking  aka Bluetooth devices.
2)      Hypospray non-invasive medical syringes aka Jet injectors.
3)      Non invasive scanners aka MRI / CT machines.
4)      Universal translators aka Google!
5)      Video conferencing.
6)      Virtual reality goggles.
7)      Date storage devices that could hold ‘gigabytes’ of information ( Pen drives anyone?)
8)      Voice command activation and 
9)      GPS  

All this was part of a show based in the 60s and was considered unbelievable technology nearly half a century ago. And yet, it is a reality today.
Today’s phones are a breed apart, of course. You can book tickets for trains, planes or just plain movies, see the weather in Timbuktu and get the latest news from a World Cup a continent away as it happens. You can become an instant chef with recipes or learn to fly a plane via flight simulator games. You can make new friends and keep in touch with old ones too across the globe without having to depend on air mail or carrier pigeons (which is technically air mail again, when you think about it!)

So when you ask me, what additional super power I would like to give my phone, I don’t need to think ahead into the future and make up some bizarre unlikely new concept. I just need to look back and revisit the adventures of the star ship Enterprise to see what could be a reality in the days to come. And while certain features like being able to create food just by saying the name does sound tantalizing, I think I know exactly what feature I would want my phone to possess.

In today’s world, we are all connected via our mobile to each other. But sadly, we cannot be with those we love all the time because as the gadgets bring us closer, real life moves us afar. We find our friends and family scattered across not a state anymore or even a country but often across various continents. Sure, social media platforms and the sound of their voice can be a relief but is it the same as being with them, sharing a joke face to face or going out for dinner together? Not in my books.

And that is why my phone would include the much needed feature of a transporter.

You're making two minute Maggi noodles? I'll be there in one. 
For those of you wondering, in the show, the transporter machine converted people or objects into energy and beamed them down instantly to another location where they would be converted back into their original form.

Can you imagine the benefits of this feature? 

Please tell me we made it back to the hostel on time!

If I finish my work at 7 PM in Bangalore, I could ‘energize’ back home to Kerala at 7.01 PM for a nice hot dinner with my family before catching the 8 PM movie premiere at London. Of course, if I get delayed, I can still make the premiere an hour later in Los Angeles, no harm done!
During the movie interval, I can beam down quickly to Bandra West for some plates of pani puri, zoom across to Malaysia for some nasi goreng and be back in my seat before the movie trailers end.
Instagramming selfles with celebrities in Beverly Hills, swimming with the dolphins in the Caribbean and getting tips on how to make the perfect idli sambhar from MasterChef Matt Preston himself at his Melbourne beach house… all would be done on a single weekend and there would still be time to sit lazily at the end of the evening by the Loch Ness, fishing for arctic char as I wait for a sighting of the mythical monster of the Scottish freshwater.

From a medical point of view, the Transporter feature would open up a whole new world. 
Can you imagine how many lives could be saved if we 
cut this golden hour down to 10 minutes in total?

No more half hour delays to get to a hospital – just reach the ailing person instantaneously and urgent life-saving first aid could be delivered during the crucial golden hour itself.

A lifetime spent traversing the galaxy while inspiring
generations sitting at home
If I feel that I require assistance, I could beam the best in the medical field down to my location and work in tandem with them. How reassuring would that be – having the best doctors in the world directly available to treat you at a moments notice?

And yes, lest I forget, I would finally be able to reconnect with all the friends gone by; people who meant the world to me once but are now just status messages and Like buttons on my social media. We could meet once more and have a laugh, talk of times gone by and look forward to a lifetime of happiness still beside each other, the way we promised we would be while writing our wishes down in those little autograph books when we left school/college.

Some people say that technology has brought us closer. Others argue that it has conversely driven us further apart from reality and closer to living a virtual life. But what if we could have the best of both worlds? What if we didn't have to stare at the phone all day waiting for our loved ones message from far away because we could be with them in the blink of an eye?
Would that not be the ultimate superpower?

P.S. In Star Trek, you needed a guy at the Transporter Room to beam you around. I wonder if that would be replaced by the 4G networks in my mobile. If so, keeping my expansive girth (some would say fat, but I prefer the term ‘well built, very well nourished’) in mind,  I’m afraid they are going to need something closer to 300G to transport me across the globe!  

Authors note: This is my post for the Asus ZenPhone contest  for the new Asus Zen series of phones which aims to go boldly where no phone has gone before with awesome features at not just amazingly affordable rates but also in various sizes and colours.

ASUS - Incredible ZEN
Yay! Runner up :D

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Hilarious Post! Only can imagine if the transporter existed, no more flight travel :p you could still get jet lagged.

    1. jet lagged!! no way! That would only be if you choose a lesser data package :p

  2. Great concept! Loved it. And its true.. wish we had the best of both worlds.
    Good luck!

  3. AnonymousJuly 09, 2014

    LOL!! Shows how much you like Star Trek!! ;)
    I used to watch it religiously too! And enjoyed the movies!! I wouldn't mind the Transporter myself!! :D

    1. I actually first saw Star Trek: The Next Generation as a child. Much later, when cable came to India, I finally got to see the original series. Was surprised by how much fun and innovation there was for a 50 year old show..

  4. I too would want this "Scotty, beam me up" feature! How cool it would be really. The original Star Trek was a class apart...well very original for sure :) I remember enjoying the show very much when it first aired on Doordarshan every sunday morning. A very enjoyable read, Roshan!

    1. I too loved it... it had some iconic moments and made up for limited special effects of that time with such ingenuity in characters and storylines.

  5. wow I never noticed these similarities :D transporter would indeed be a great idea :D enjoyed reading your post and ideas :D

    1. When you think about it, some of the concepts would have seemed absurd at that time... probably even 15 years ago! So who's to say we can't be transporting ahead in the days to come!

  6. oh lol a nice fun post. Teleporting is a superpower I want to have too. But your zipping around the world made me dizzy and tired!

    1. naa... if Captain Kirk and Scotty can do it without getting dizzy, surely we can too! :D

  7. I never noticed the similarities either but agree with you. I would like to see a transporter in the future! That would be awesome. ♥

    1. Me too ! That really would be the pinnacle of advancement in technology for me!

  8. I am such a big fan of Leanard Nimoy ! Would watch him over and over again

    I want a Time Machine to be invented ASAP.

    1. haha.. me too. He is also a big part of the show Fringe, if you haven't seen it.

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