Questions for ‘Star Trek tech becomes more science than fiction’


The series Star Trek followed the crew of the starship Enterprise.



Before Reading:

1. Technology has rapidly evolved throughout the last 50 years. Name a piece of technology that you use today that was not around 50 years ago. How does it make life different?

2. The world of science fiction has come up with a vast array of make-believe technology. What are your favorites? Which would you most like to see become reality? And why?

During Reading:

1. What three things could a tricorder do?

2. What did Basil Harris and his brothers use to create a cotton candy machine when they were young?

3. What must the winning device of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize be able to do?

4. What is a tractor beam?

5. What are optical tweezers?

6. How far has David Grier’s tractor beam been able to move objects?

7. Name three ways mentioned in the story for which lasers are now used.

8. How does the Lockheed Martin laser weapon focus its beam?

9. People use a lot of technology today. What aspect of that technology does David Grier wish that knew more about?

10. This story has more than a dozen references to people and quotes from various versions of Star Trek. How many can you find?

After Reading: 

1. There is a history of the world of science fiction coming up with technologies that later become real. Do some research and find an example of a technology not mentioned in this story that was inspired by Star Trek or some other science fiction story. Who came up with the idea for it? And who brought it to life?

2. The Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize has challenged inventors to build real tricorders. With a group, come up with a basic design for one. What kind of information would it need from a patient? Would it need samples of blood or other things from the body? How would it be powered? How might it analyze all of those data and come up with a diagnosis?


1. Write a short science fiction story that takes place 200 years in the future. Describe what life would be like then. Include mention of some futuristic technology and what it would do that cannot be done today.