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BlackBerry co-founders Lazaridis, Fregin look to Star Trek for inspiration

“Dammit Jim…Balsillie…”

BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis, who recently announced he would follow former co-CEO Jim Balsillie in leaving the legendary Canadian smartphone maker, already has a new gig. Lazaridis, along with BlackBerry co-founder Doug Fregin have formed the Quantum Valley Investments fund.

Appearing on Bloomberg recently, Lazaridis hinted to host Jon Erlichman that his would be no staid, boring lab. He says researchers on the project are already developing spinoff technologies that could be as futuristic as those on the iconic original Star Trek TV show from the 1960’s.

“The medical tricorder that was used by Bones to diagnose to understand what was happening in the body non-intrusively, without actually drawing blood, that’s something that we’re kinda seeing…that may be possible,” said Lazaridis.

Lazardis points out that many of the devices from Star Trek have already happened. So what are they, exactly?

Well, the first and most obvious is the one right in Lazaridis’s wheelhouse. Star Trek’s communicators were the pre-cursors to the modern day cell phone. Their most faithful replication was probably Nextel’s iDEN, push-to-talk devices, which, incidentally, will be shut down later this year.

Another of the devices used on the original Star Trek helped out its script writers as much as it did James Tiberius Kirk. Whenever the crew, including those anonymous, redshirted soon-to-be-dead Starfleet security personnel, landed on another planet, they were instantly able to communicate via a universal translator. Today, talking translator apps are getting close to this seamless performance.

A remarkable example of a Star Trek real life invention comes from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and Geordi LaForge’s VISOR. In 2005, scientists at Stanford University designed implants that were placed behind the retina of blind rats, enabling them to see. Just this February, The FDA approved the Argus II, after a trial showed that some people who were completely blind were subsequently able to read a newspaper.

The website HowStuffWorks has a pretty comprehensive list called of Star Trek inspired technologies that came to be.

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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