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Trek Communicator Phone Delayed

Show also inspired non-lethal weapon

Even though there is no current series on the air, Star Trek science continues to become reality.

A cell phone that resembles the communicator from the original “Star Trek” has been delayed until 2006, according to The Inquirer.

Originally scheduled for release in September this year, the phone has been pushed back until next year by Sona Mobile, who has contracted with Paramount to create the device.

Sona representatives said they have been flooded by people who want to buy the phone as soon as it is available. “The enthusiastic demand we have received from Star Trek fans worldwide for the Star Trek Communicator Phone is staggering,” a release from a company representative said.

“We have faced production challenges, and in an effort to maintain our commitment to bringing the best product to market, must postpone the launch of this product until 2006,” he said.

Trek fans are looking forward to this fulfillment of a dream. When someone calls the phone, the voice of Lieutenant Commander Worf announces that there is an incoming call. When the device is flipped open, the familiar chirping sound activates, then the call can be received. Fans should be aware that the phone looks like the “Star Trek” communicator, but the sounds are from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Games, video clips, ringtones, wallpapers and message boards will also be available for Trek fans to use.

“Like you, we are Star Trek fans,” the release said. “We are looking forward to celebrating Star Trek’s 40th anniversary in 2006 by making the Star Trek Communicator Phone the device every Star Trek fan has been wanting since Captain Kirk used his during the original series premiere in 1966. It will be worth the wait!”

The Star Trek phone isn’t the only technology from the show that is being readied for modern use. The U.S. military recently presented a non-lethal laser rifle called a “PHaSR” (Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response) that will temporarily blind enemy personnel without damaging them permanently. The device needs more testing to ensure compliance with the 1995 United Nations Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, experts said.

Star Trek clearly had an influence on this 21-pound weapon. The Department of Defense’s Stars and Stripes website said that the show had a lot to do with the naming of the PHaSR, pointing out that it resembles Captain Kirk’s phaser set on stun.

“Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future has caught up with us,” said Air Force Capt. Thomas Wegner, the program manager for the project at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, where the PHaSR was developed.

The PHaSR “was specifically named as an homage to Star Trek,” said Wegner, a self-described Trekkie. However, an Enterprise phaser could vaporize people, the Air Force version is not lethal, “just a light beam.”

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