Star Trek’s tricorder inspires new medical technology!

An extraordinary panel was held this afternoon at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego.

The Science and Science Fiction of Star Trek’s Tricorder brought together four panelists who are helping to lead our way into the future. It will be a future of almost unlimited possibility, replete with groundbreaking technologies what were barely imagined when the original television series was created.

Dr. Erik Viirre, who acted as moderator, is Professor of Neurosciences at UC San Diego; Dr. Paul E. Jacobs is Chairman and CEO of XCOM Labs, and former executive chairman of Qualcomm; Dr. Yvonne Cagle is a physician, professor, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, and former NASA astronaut; Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, the CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and head of the Roddenberry Foundation, is the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett. He is also an executive producer on Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

The first thing the audience learned is that all four panelists are fans of Star Trek! (Did you know that the former head of Qualcomm, many moons ago, was founding member of Star Fleet Club La Jolla?)

The next thing we learned was that Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists, engineers, inventors and visionaries. Many technological advances we know today were first conceived by Gene Roddenberry and the experts he turned to for advice when writing the show. He wanted Star Trek to be believable and largely based on science.

We were reminded how Star Trek’s communicator became the actual flip phone, and how today’s smartphones have essentially become Star Trek’s tricorder. Think about it!

The various multi-function tricorders carried by Spock, McCoy, and other Star Trek characters could provide a user with all sorts of useful information. A tricorder could be used to ascertain location and weather, or analyze the physical environment or obtain cultural information. A tricorder could be used as a universal translator. It could even be used to assess one’s medical condition.

In many ways, your smartphone does all of those things today!

We then learned our own future contains even greater possibilities.

The panelists explained how a smartphone, or handheld mobile device, used by an ordinary person, could become a practical health tool. For example, such a medical “tricorder” could analyze the sound of irregular breathing or a cough and determine a likely medical condition or disease. And such a device, by detecting signals or other data from the user’s body, could provide a warning that a stroke or heart attack is imminent.

Projects like that are underway today!

Five years ago, The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE was a $10 million global competition to incentivize the development of innovative technologies capable of accurately diagnosing a set of 13 medical conditions independent of a healthcare professional or facility, ability to continuously measure 5 vital signs, and have a positive consumer experience. Read more about it here.

The co-winning Canadian team, CloudDX, propelled by their Tricorder XPRIZE participation, has gone on to commercialize remote, connected patient monitoring hardware and software that anyone can easily use at home!

And that’s just the beginning.

On the International Space Station today, 250 miles above Earth, astronauts wear a Smart Shirt that senses body temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen, EKG, and even the activity of heart valves!

Can you imagine a virtual reality doctor’s visit in your future? (Oh, wait. Star Trek envisioned this already. USS Voyager’s Emergency Medical Holographic Doctor.) Advances in artificial intelligence and tele-medicine have just barely begun.

(And yes, virtual reality was envisioned many decades ago. It was the basis for many tangled plots on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The holodeck!)

Those who sat listening to this extraordinary Comic-Con Museum panel learned all of this, and more. We saw that, in the hands of thoughtful people who desire positive, healthy outcomes, our technological future can be very bright, indeed.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fusion and the futuristic science of Star Trek!

A fascinating panel convened yesterday at San Diego’s Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. The Science of Star Trek – Travel at Warp Speed featured a Star Trek editor, a Star Trek writer, and three scientists from General Atomics, which is headquartered here in San Diego.

The event coincided with the Comic-Con Museum’s current exhibition honoring Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

Five panelists focused primarily on the technology of nuclear fusion, which has been pioneered at General Atomics for many decades. Fusion powers the fictional impulse engines of Star Trek’s starships.

It was fun to learn that Star Trek was a major inspiration of David Humphreys, a nuclear fusion scientist who has worked at General Atomics for 40 years! (Incidentally, his favorite captain is Kirk.)

All sorts of different Star Trek technology, like the matter/anti-matter warp drive, tricorders and communicators, were touched upon. The panelists loved that much of Star Trek’s speculative tech has been based on real physics and scientific possibility. Remember how Kirk would sit in the captain’s chair and sign off on a device that looked like a tablet? Some of that once-fictional tech exists today!

Other not-so-realistic Star Trek technology would be used merely as a plot device. The transporters allowed a story (and Dr. McCoy’s scrambled molecules) to quickly transition from scene to scene. Human scale teleportation remains a somewhat unlikely dream. (But who knows?)

The most exciting part of the discussion concerned the imminent emergence of sustained nuclear fusion as a potentially limitless source of cheap, clean energy. Unlike nuclear fission, with its dangerous radioactive waste and chain reaction, the technology that produces fusion is inherently safe. And its “fuel” is hydrogen, which is practically limitless. The trick is energizing and concentrating hydrogen atoms so that they fuse and become helium, as they do inside the very, very hot sun. No easy task!

Fusion has made such tremendous advances that the world now stands at the brink of major breakthroughs, due primarily to the ITER project–one of the largest scientific programs in human history–where 35 nations from around the world hope to perfect and share practical working technology. General Atomics produced the super powerful magnets utilized by ITER.

Another thing the panelists addressed is how young people today can take part in this exciting future. Diverse, good-paying jobs connected to fusion technology are going to be plentiful. General Atomics is looking for interns! Can you imagine a more interesting place to work and learn?

It was great to see how San Diego’s own General Atomics is helping to lead the way to a world that will be completely transformed in a positive way by nuclear fusion. And it was inspiring to see scientists from General Atomics out in the community. They also participated in the Barrio Logan STEAM Block Party, which I blogged about last weekend.

When I was in middle school, many moons ago, we went on a field trip to General Atomics. I remember how the scientists briefly fired their fusion reactor under a huge protective pool of water. Now, almost half a century later, we are at the cusp of something so huge, the world might be transformed beyond anything that even the creators of Star Trek envisioned!

Oh–the next photo, taken on the main floor of the Comic-Con Museum, is of Star Trek cosplayers belonging to the Science Fiction Coalition. Live long and prosper!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A sudden Trandoshan encounter in the Gaslamp!

As I walked up Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter early this evening, I had a sudden encounter! A fierce-looking Trandoshan from the Star Wars universe raised its head by the sidewalk!

I quickly learned this detailed model of a Trandoshan was drying in the sun, having been recently brought to life by Saturnino Martinez 3rd, a make-up artist, cosplayer, filmmaker, comic and Gray Jedi Master!

Saturnino posed for my camera while facing off against his own creation!

If you see the Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan walking around the Gaslamp during the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, it’s probably him!

Super cool!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The cool Chameleon Jump Suit at UCSD library!

Check out what I discovered today while wandering inside UC San Diego’s Geisel Library!

The very cool Chameleon Jump Suit!

The life-size figure in scaly green body armor was modeled after the time-traveling character in a popular 1998 computer game. “The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time” was entertaining software created by Presto Studios, a company founded by UCSD alumni. You can read more about it here!

Even though I never played that particular computer game, I know a number of my readers love Comic-Con and popular culture, so I thought I’d share these photographs for everyone’s enjoyment!

I’m taking Comic-Con week off from work again this year, so stay tuned for lots of cool photos during 2022 San Diego Comic-Con coming up in July!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Comic-Con Museum’s Star Trek exhibit expands!

The amazing Star Trek exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park has expanded!

The special exhibit, titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary, includes original costumes, props, historical documents and artifacts related to the creation of Star Trek. The life, writings and visionary efforts of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry are highlighted.

I blogged about the exhibit the weekend it opened here.

Well, check out what I saw today!

New additions include costumes worn by actress Majel Barrett, primarily from her role as Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Majel Barret was Gene’s wife. You might recall she also played nurse Christine Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was often called the First Lady of Star Trek.

In addition, amazing works of Star Trek art now decorate one museum wall! These large, inventive LEGO brick character portraits and scene recreations, assembled by a master builder, will blow your mind!

I visited the Comic-Con Museum today to listen to an interesting Will Eisner Week panel concerning the use of comic books and graphic novels in education. I’ll blog about that shortly!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek at the Comic-Con Museum.

The Comic-Con Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park opened this weekend. One of the museum’s inaugural exhibits is titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary. Gene Roddenberry was the creator of Star Trek.

Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary celebrates the achievements of a writer and producer whose storied life was filled with optimism about the human race and our shared future. That optimism was embodied in Star Trek, and is one very big reason why generations of fans have loved the many television series and movies in the enduring science fiction franchise.

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and reruns of the original Star Trek series. I loved the space travel, strange new worlds, sense of wonder and discovery, how Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov . . . Picard, Riker, Data, Deanna, Geordi, Beverly, Worf . . . and a family of diverse characters overcame strange, sometimes daunting challenges, mostly using their moral sense and intelligence, never losing their faith in the potential good of humanity.

I loved the philosophical themes and the alien encounters. It all was fun, original, thought-provoking, exciting. I still enjoy watching the original series, even if the special effects are dated. My attachment to Star Trek is permanent. Like legions of other fans.

So, obviously, I was excited to view this major exhibit at the newly opened Comic-Con Museum. Gene Roddenberry’s creative genius and humanity is on full display–his writings, sketches, quotes, screenplays–plus there are original props and costumes from Star Trek.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek and happen to be in San Diego, this is a must see exhibition.

Here’s a little of what you’ll discover…

A colorful pathway through the exhibit details the life of Gene Roddenberry. He was a World War II pilot, police officer and Hollywood writer, before launching his enduring idea of Star Trek.
Original costumes from Star Trek productions on display.
The optimism and imagination of a curious mind are recalled.
Lexoriter word processor used by Roddenberry writing scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Roddenberry’s personal film projector used to screen Star Trek episodes at home.
Historical documents, letters, artwork and scripts are displayed, pertaining to the creative work of Gene Roddenberry.
Lyrics to the musical theme from Star Trek written by Roddenberry.
Star Trek communicators foresaw today’s cellphone technology. “The Menagerie” script of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, Gene’s wife and actress who portrayed Nurse Chapel.
May Gene Roddenberry’s hopeful, positive world view Live Long and Prosper!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Gaslamp chalk art promotes Comic-Con cosplay!

I spotted some cool chalk art this morning as I walked through San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Star Wars characters and a Ghostbusters graphic had been created in front of the Blarney Stone Pub on Fifth Avenue.

It appears the chalk art promotes a Star Wars/Mandalorian cosplay contest at 9 pm on Friday, during Comic-Con Special Edition. I’m not sure if it will be held here or elsewhere.

I took these photos of the artwork…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Star Wars photos for May the Fourth!

May the Fourth be with you this fine Tuesday!

For your enjoyment, I’ve assembled a bunch of fun Star Wars photos that I’ve taken over many years of blogging in San Diego.

You’ll see cosplay and street art. You’ll see cool Star Wars figures, fan art and funny advertisements. Most of these photos are from past Comic-Cons.

To see even more Star Wars stuff on Cool San Diego Sights, perform a search on my blog’s sidebar or click a tag.

Enjoy!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Map of the Interplanetary Confederation in El Cajon!

Perhaps you remember a past blog post where I shared photos of a UFO mural outside the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon. Or another post that included a photo of a large flying saucer on the roof of an unusual automobile that I spotted in Coronado.

Well, during my weekend walk through El Cajon, I paused outside the Unarius New World Teaching Center to read various displays in their windows.

The first thing that caught my attention was their Map of the Interplanetary Confederation, with its 33 planets that form a spiraling vortex emanating from a spiritual sun. And how in 1973 Uriel contacted the leaders of these planets, learning of their Master Plan.

Another display concerned the lost civilization of Atlantis, and the coming arrival of the Space Brothers, advanced scientists who will teach humankind interdimensional physics.

Fascinating, to say the least!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A Time Machine, and three fantastic dreams.

In downtown Vista, California, at the intersection of S. Indiana Avenue and E. Broadway, you’ll discover a Time Machine and three fantastic dreams.

Or perhaps I should say, you’ll discover four sculptures, one at each corner. I happened upon this very unique public art while walking today!

You might remember I took photos of other cool sculptures around downtown Vista a couple months ago. See them here.

After I finished that earlier walk, I learned to my chagrin that I’d missed a lot of other nearby artwork, so I returned!

(And I found even more amazing art during today’s adventure. So stay tuned!)

Time Machine, by Randall Art Ranch, 2017.
Time Machine, by Randall Art Ranch, 2017.

Shall we visit three dreams? Pull the lever to GO.
Shall we now visit three dreams? Pull the lever to GO.

Beacon, by artist Kellan Shanahan.
Beacon, by artist Kellan Shanahan.

Aeolian Butterfly, by artists David Terrell and Dave Weaver.
Aeolian Butterfly, by artists David Terrell and Dave Weaver.

Sea Life, by artist Noe Estrada.
Sea Life, by artist Noe Estrada.

What takes us back to the past are the memories. What brings us forward is our dreams.
What takes us back to the past are the memories. What brings us forward is our dreams.

Hop aboard and move forward.
Time to dream. Hop aboard, strap yourself in and forward we go!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.