Classic 'Star Trek' control panel gets modern facelift

DIY Enterprise bridge control panel uses Arduino, Raspberry Pi technology.

"Star Trek" control panel
I'm sorry, Captain. I couldn't hear you over the sound of my own awesomeness. USS Nokomis

There's a certain retro-cheesy charm to the sets used for the original "Star Trek." The lights and sounds of the bridge are ingrained in minds of many Trekkies. Several members of the USS Nokomis, a Twin Cities "Star Trek" fan club, made their very own bridge console, using modern technology to bring it to life.

Every year, the "crew" of the USS Nokomis stocks a party room at its Trekkie convention. Needing to spruce up the hotel room's decor, members set about making a classic "Trek" control panel. Sure, they could have plugged in some lights and called it done, but they instead drafted Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform, and Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized computer, into the project.

Because nobody is making off-the-shelf "Star Trek" bridge lights, the makers crafted their own, using tinted resin in ice cube trays. The panel uses more than 150 of them. Fluorescent lights underneath the panel light up the buttons from below. The displays are made from acrylic, several of which get their own blinking lights. Arduino controls the lighting.

Raspberry Pi is in charge of sound effects. The Arduino controller tips it off when a switch is flipped, and you get treated to some classic bridge noises. Yep, this is exactly the sort of thing old-school "Star Trek" fans get excited about.

Adding to the charm is a viewer hood, like Spock so often gazed into. Inside is a digital picture frame playing short video clips. Now all I need is for this to go up on Etsy so I can acquire it for my living room. Either that, or I need to quit being so lazy and go make my own.

control panel
These buttons were all made individually. USS Nokomis

(Via Make)

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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