Starfleet Communications Technology
For more information, see Starfleet Communications Technology (Memory Alpha)
The following is a description of various communications technology commonly employed by members of the Federation Starfleet aboard starships, starbases, installations, and away missions.
Classification: General Communication Technology
Primary Viewscreen (2150s-Present)
For more information, see Primary Viewscreen (Memory Alpha)
A viewscreen (or main viewer) is an audio/visual device used as early as the twenty-second century aboard starships, space stations, and planetary facilities to display various types of imagery from sensor data to communication signals.
Viewscreens generally consist of a large screen located on the bridge of a starship (or operations center of a space station or starbase) and have been an almost universal facet of space exploration surviving well into even the twenty-ninth century. They typically display images of the area immediately around or in front of a starship, but could provide views from all directions as well as call up data from the library computer. Viewscreen technology has played an essential role in ship-to-ship communication, allowing face-to-face conferencing if so desired, by utilizing subspace and other communications systems. Intra-ship communications were also possible, through the main viewer was rarely used for this function.
By the year 2371, most starships were equipped with viewscreens which also employed holographic technology. These viewscreens differed from previous designs in that a hologrid was present behind the displayed image. When damaged or deactivated, a hologrid much like that in the ship's holodeck appeared on the bulkhead.
For more information, see Holo-Communicator (Memory Alpha)
The holo-communicator was a new advance in Federation communications technology in the twenty-fourth century. It allowed two parties to converse as if in the same room by sending holograms of each other courtesy of projects installed in the floor.
Holo-communicators were first deployed by Starfleet in 2373 on the bridges of starships as well as in the operation centers of other Starfleet installations. Limited field testing of the device (most notably aboard Deep Space Nine and the USS Defiant) revealed several limitations to holographic communications technology which Starfleet Command felt at the time outweighed the benefits. It was not until the conclusion of the Dominion War and the return of the USS Voyager that holographic technology was revisted. By 2387, a new form of holo-communicator began limited field testing to determine whether or not it presented a viable alternative to existing long-range communication technology.
Classification: Personal Communication Technology
Uniform Insignia and Combadge (2370-Present)
For more information, see Combadge (Memory Alpha)
The combadge was a combination insignia and communicator which replaced standalone Starfleet communcators in the early twenty-fourth century. They are used for on board ship communication with other Starfleet personnel when using the internal communication system is not possible or impractical, for accessing the onboard ship computer when not in an area that the computer is monitoring, for ship-to-shore communications, and for direct communication with another combadge. Combadges are also configured to act as universal translators. Starfleet combadges in particular are worn on the left breast of an individual's uniform and are activated by tapping them once.
In a slightly differing design from earlier Starfleet combadges, the insignia introduced around 2385 was comprised a delta shield outline backed by two vertical gold quadrangles. The Starfleet combadge was a crystalline composite of gold, microfilament, silicon, beryllium and carbon-70. Due to the size of the combadge, its working range was limited to five hundred kilometers, although a starship could boost the signal to bridge larger distances. The combadge can be opened for maintenance purposes or to be used as a beacon.
Personal Access Display Device (2150s-Present)
For more information, see PADD (Memory Alpha)
PADD is an acronym for Personal Access Display Device, a hand-held computer interface used as early as the twenty-second century and well into the twenty-fourth century. While the common function of Federation PADDs was most often straight forward data entry or data retrieval, some PADDs were capable of more artistic tasks. Some PADDs, often larger in size than most of their counterparts, were used to draw up schematics or to create composite images or artwork. PADDs were also capable of predictive text functions, allowing users to enter a small amount of data to achieve full words or even sentences. In addition, a stylus could be used for text entry. PADDs could also order a site-to-site transport.
By 2364, PADDs had taken on a smaller profile and, while some models would include one, the stylus was replaced by simple, touch-sensitive controls generaly located neneath a small, square-shaped display screen. Generally small and light-weight, the PADDs of the 2360s and 2370s were basically rectangular in shape, but varied in size, proportion, and even color - ranging form gray and muted blue colors to red. Some PADDs were even translucent. When struck with enough force, the screen of a PADD could be shattered resulting in shards sharp enough to cut human skin.
Desktop Monitor (2150s-Present)
For more information, see Desktop Monitor (Memory Alpha)
A desktop monitor is a personal computer console used as early as the twenty-second century aboard starships, space stations, and planetary facilities. These devices were often used for personal library computer retrieval, to display sensor data, and for visual communications. By 2379, most previous desktop monitors had been replaced by a single, flat-panel viewer that existed as part of the desktop and rose up when activated from a small control panel embedded in the desk. Also in use during this time was yet another style of flat-panel monitor, this one free-standing and silver in color. Starfleet installations such as starbases, colonies, and Starfleet Headquarters began making use of desktop monitors which had a clear glass back and a much thicker base sometime around the mid-2380s.