The list of devices inspired by Star Trek and now available in the real world is getting longer all the time. We already have padds (Kindle and tablet devices), as well as a “transparent aluminum”, a vocal computer interface, and hypospray devices.
Now a startup is taking a crack at the ubiquitous communitcator devices worn as lapel badges by later Star Trek personnel. Fans are accustomed to seeing standard issue Starfleet comm badges on every uniform from Next Generation on. A simple tap was all it took to activate the comm badge and communicate within the ship, or even from a planet surface.
The company is called OnBeep and it has raised $6.25 million to help launch its first product.
"It clips to your shirt or coat or blouse or bag strap. It's worn very similar to a badge or a broach and designed to be operated with one hand, a single gesture. You’re able to press or gesture communicate, speak and be heard,” said Jesse Robbins of OnBeep.
Robbins and Greg Albrecht founded OnBeep. Albrecht works as a part-time emergency responder, and is therefore intimately familiar with the need for a hands-free device such as this in his line of work.
"I kept coming back to this idea of bringing real-time group communication, the type of communication that I’ve always been able to use in a lifesaving capacity, to everyone... I wanted to be able to bring them the same sort of heads up, engaged, in the moment tech that we have when we use [fire department] radios, but that don’t weigh 4 pounds,” Robbins said.
OnBeep’s ideas are following the trend of wearable technology.
"It's a statement, whatever technology decisions, whatever fashion decisions people make, it's a statement about who they are," Robbins says. "We focus a lot on getting out of the Silicon Valley, San Francisco typical tech worker design mentality."