The list of Star Trek technologies I most want to have looks something like this: Holosuite. Transporter. Tricorder. Universal translator. Replicator. Combadge. The "Next Generation" badge was the natural evolution of the original Star Trek communicator, a handheld device. Picard and gang were able to tap the uniform badge on their chest to talk to each other. And soon you'll be able to as well.
Geeky retailer ThinkGeek opened up preorders for a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Bluetooth communicator badge on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of Star Trek's debut on television. The badge comes from audio company Fametek and it hooks up with your smartphone to act as a Bluetooth mic and speaker.
But does it chirp, you might ask? Yes, it does. One touch triggers the classic sound effect. The officially licensed gadget can also answer or end calls, play or pause audio and access Siri or Google Now with a tap. It attaches to your Starfleet uniform or street clothes with magnets. A single battery charge lasts for about 10 hours.
The combadge is essentially a supercool speakerphone you wear on your chest, so your conversations will be aired in public. At least you won't look nearly as weird as those people with Bluetooth earsets.
You could buy this combadge and just wear it to conventions along with your Geordi, Jean-Luc or Deanna uniform, but then you'd be missing out on the casual, everyday geek opportunities it offers. There's something magical about the thought of chirping your communicator to answer a call while you're checking out at the grocery store or huffing a hot dog at the ballpark.
The combadge will run you $79.99 (about AU$105) and is expected to ship in November. ThinkGeek ships the combadge only to North America during the preorder but will eventually open up shipping to Asia and Australia. EG Games will offer the device in the European Union, but UK residents are left out due to licensing restrictions. You'll just have to borrow a shuttlecraft and cross some borders or find a proxy to get yours.