Star Trek: The Next Generation Turns 25

Cardboard cut outs of Star Trek actors stand next to a selection of second hand books in a bookshop during the Hay Festival on May 31, 2011 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

OK Star Trek fans: before you start yelling at us for saying "Warp speed, Mr. Scott" on today's show instead of Mr. Sulu, know this: we were referencing a specific clip. It was something we found while searching for sound of the starship warp drive. And while we decided ahead of airing the show that the usual guy to "engage"--at least on the earlier version--was indeed Hikaru Sulu, we figured, what the heck. Can you name what show/movie the clip we're referencing is from? 

Either way, tomorrow marks 25 years since the debut of "Star Trek: NEXT Generation." And at this quarter-century mark there's been a couple of pieces of recent Star Trek inspired tech news.

Remember Dr. McCoy's Tricorder to diagnose ailments? The Qualcomm Foundation has announced a competition for researchers who come up with the best real Tricorder...a hand-held wireless device that monitors your health and figures out what's wrong with you. The foundation hopes to advance technology for wireless sensors, imaging, molecular biology, and artificial intelligence. The 10 million dollar X prize could be awarded in 2016.

Chances for a Star Trek-style, faster-than-light real warp drive for inter-galactic travel may be slightly better this month.That's after a NASA scientist proposed a warp drive that looks like a donut. The new shape, in theory, requires much less energy than earlier concepts."There is hope," for warp drive, said the scientist, Harold White. "Hope," of course, does not equal "feasible."

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
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