Sci-Fi UI / UX: Star Trek the original series

Star Trek the original series, created by Gene Roddenberry and starring William Shatner was ahead of its time when it first aired in 1966 and in many ways still is. The show helped pave the way for futurists, popularizing a vision of future humanity and future technology. The real world technology from the day (1960’s) had influenced the imaginations of what the creators thought technology 300 years in the future (2265 to 2269) could look like, but just barely.

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A large console seemingly controls every vital system in the ship at the push of – large colored plastic cubes. Although not likely to be the most intuitive command console, the glowing jewels on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise presumably got the job done. Operators could be identified by thick calluses on their fingers from repeated button pressing.

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tumblr_mbpbvwQT4X1riet8go1_500Some of the more interesting detail work is seen on the banks of smaller console screens which show technical readouts for all areas of the ships operation. This graphical display style is seen in later iterations of the show including The Next Generation and Enterprise.

2008-03-03-Spock_panelThe more interesting element of this image shows a detailed technical drawing to the right of the analog clock. Albeit small, the backlit drawing presumably details a technical readout for some system critical to the spaceships operation. This type of graphical display would have required more input to develop. As we see Sci-Fi interfaces develop throughout the years, it is this type of graphical readout which becomes larger and becomes the focal point of Sci-Fi interfaces and HUDs.

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This prop design from the 1960’s TV show Star Trek resembles a 2000’s desktop computer (without keyboard or mouse). The detailed line drawings displayed on screen tell that this machine is used for very close study or examination of technical systems.

 

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