Even though J.J. Abrams has already done two movies since Star Trek got rebooted, some people are still stuck in William Shatner’s era, as this DIY Enterprise control panel proves.
No matter how futuristic the producers of the new movies try to make the bridge control, the one from the original series is still more appealing to some Trekkies. Members of USS Nokomis, a Twin Cities “Star Trek” fan club, decided to give the old control panel a twist by integrating some modern technology into it. This way, the exterior still brings The Original Series to mind, while the components found under the hood are meant to make the lights shine brighter, just not literally.
What distinguishes USS Nokomis from many other Star Trek fan clubs is that the members of this one organize a Trekkie convention each year. On this particular occasion, they set up a party room and fill it with all sorts of things that would be found aboard the Enterprise. The bridge control in question was made for this year’s convention. Of course, they could’ve used LEDs similar to the ones that light up the Christmas tree to make the buttons on the bridge control glow, but why settle for such a simple solution? Instead, they went for a system that includes an Arduino open-source electronic prototyping platform, as well as a Raspberry Pi miniature computer.
Tinted resin in ice cube trays was used for creating more than 150 Star Trek bridge buttons, as such things cannot be purchased at the local stores. In fact, no one is manufacturing such things, apart probably from the companies that make such things for movie sets.
Underneath the acrylic displays there are fluorescent lights that are controlled by the Arduino platform. When a switch is flipped, the Arduino micro-controller sends a signal to the Raspberry Pi and a classic bridge noise is generated.
A viewer hood similar to the one used by Leonard Nimoy’s Spock has also been integrated. However, inside the hood, instead of an analog display, there’s a digital picture frame that displays short clips, probably related to the original series, too.
The sounds effects are not difficult to find on the mighty Internet, and the prices of the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi are not that high, so people can actually proceed to building their own Star Trek bridge control, in case they liked this idea.