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ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
08-09-2019, 01:04 PM
Post: #1
ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Rick Sternbach, the famous illustrator who designed much of the iconic eye candy in several Star Trek series and movies, made this interesting comment during an interview in July 2007:

Rick Sternbach Wrote:The [Next Generation] tricorders were initially inspired by the HP-41C programmable calculators, which I found to be amazing new (at the time) pieces of technology that could do amazing numbers of functions. The basic shape involved a button interface, sockets for plug-in modules and peripherals, and a one-line display. With some 24th century updating, the thing was perfect, and evolved into a similarly shaped and sized device that boasted touch-sensitive controls, multi-function color display, and a variety of sensors and com subsystems. And all way before the iPod or iPhone. Smile

The fact that it folded was partly to give the actor something interesting to do with it, since the communicator was reduced to a single solid object. The pull-out sensor was another actor “piece of business” that worked well for us.

One of Rick's pieces of original concept art for the ST:TNG Tricorder:

[Image: sternbach-16.png]

Closeups of the real McCoy (as it were) can be seen here: https://www.therpf.com/forums/threads/tn...686/page-6

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08-09-2019, 01:21 PM
Post: #2
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Cool, thanks for the link Joe, some great photos of the tricorders. As a long-time ST geek, I'm ashamed to admit I did not know there were so many different designs.

ST:TNG initially aired in 1987, so the 41 was no longer really "new". And I'm really glad Rick never bought an HP-18C...

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08-09-2019, 03:19 PM
Post: #3
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Hello!

(08-09-2019 01:04 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Closeups of the real McCoy ...

Just nitpicking here, but McCoy ("bones") was not on TNG (The Next Generation). He was on TOS ("The Original Series") instead. (How I have always hated TLAs! (*) ;-) ).

On Next Generation, the doctors were female and called Dr. Crusher and (briefly) Dr. Pulaski. Take this from someone who is married to a Trekkie who rarely misses a Star Trek Convention which she attends dressed as Dr. Crusher including that tricorder thingie. Which flashes some lights and emits beeping sounds but otherwise is completely dissimilar to an HP-41. The designer may or may not have been inspired by the calculator, but the final product bears absolutely no resemblance to it. It is actually a lot more similar to the flip-lid communicator of "TOS" than to an HP-41.

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08-09-2019, 04:45 PM
Post: #4
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C

Just nitpicking here, but McCoy ("bones") was not on TNG (The Next Generation). He was on TOS ("The Original Series") instead. (How I have always hated TLAs! (*) ;-) ).
(*) TLA=Three Letter Abbreviation
[/quote]

I guess you don't remember the Next Gen episode Encounter at Farpoint. McCoy was in that one! Smile

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08-09-2019, 05:44 PM
Post: #5
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Hi!

(08-09-2019 04:45 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  I guess you don't remember the Next Gen episode Encounter at Farpoint. McCoy was in that one! Smile

Oh yes, I do! But he was a 137 year old admiral then and no longer required to point his HP-41-lookalike-tricorder at fallen redshirts saying "He's dead, Jim!"
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08-09-2019, 07:23 PM (This post was last modified: 08-09-2019 07:24 PM by StephenG1CMZ.)
Post: #6
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Now if only an HP41 update had added an "It's life Jim, but not as we know it" function.

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08-09-2019, 08:45 PM
Post: #7
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
"Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a programmer!"

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08-09-2019, 09:04 PM
Post: #8
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Next year, celebrating its 41st anniversary, HP will release the 41 'Tricorder Edition'.

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08-10-2019, 01:12 AM
Post: #9
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-09-2019 03:19 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  
(08-09-2019 01:04 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Closeups of the real McCoy ...

Just nitpicking here, but McCoy ("bones") was not on TNG (The Next Generation). He was on TOS ("The Original Series") instead.

Not to nitpick a nitpicker, or presume Joe's original meaning, but the phrase "the real McCoy" predates Star Trek, and television for that matter. It generally means "the real thing" or "the genuine article." If that was not Joe's intent, then I'd say he was guilty of a really bad pun...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_real_McCoy

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08-10-2019, 05:54 AM
Post: #10
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-10-2019 01:12 AM)mfleming Wrote:  
(08-09-2019 03:19 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Just nitpicking here, but McCoy ("bones") was not on TNG (The Next Generation). He was on TOS ("The Original Series") instead.

Not to nitpick a nitpicker, or presume Joe's original meaning, but the phrase "the real McCoy" predates Star Trek, and television for that matter. It generally means "the real thing" or "the genuine article." If that was not Joe's intent, then I'd say he was guilty of a really bad pun...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_real_McCoy

Heh heh! Yes, I wrote "the real McCoy (as it were)" to indicate that it was indeed intended to be a pun. All puns are bad, especially Star Trek puns. Big Grin

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08-12-2019, 01:39 PM
Post: #11
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Hello!

(08-10-2019 05:54 AM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Heh heh! Yes, I wrote "the real McCoy (as it were)" to indicate that it was indeed intended to be a pun.

It is really the first time that I heard about "the real McCoy"... One learns something new every day. Or "Infinite divesity, infinite combinations" as Mr Spock would say :-)

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08-12-2019, 03:00 PM
Post: #12
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-12-2019 01:39 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello!

(08-10-2019 05:54 AM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Heh heh! Yes, I wrote "the real McCoy (as it were)" to indicate that it was indeed intended to be a pun.

It is really the first time that I heard about "the real McCoy"... One learns something new every day. Or "Infinite divesity, infinite combinations" as Mr Spock would say :-)

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Max

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If you really want some fun look into the etymology of Okay sometime.
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08-14-2019, 08:53 AM (This post was last modified: 08-14-2019 08:55 AM by Giancarlo.)
Post: #13
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Hello,
Who designed the old Hp calculators? Did hp take in consideration the design of the calcolatore or they were designed by engineers inspired by other professional tools?

When I look at my hp48sx I am still enchanted by the design and the quality of materials...

The 41 is still surprising me because of the multitude of devices that it can connect to. It wasn’t a calculator it was an environment, a platform...

Thanks

Giancarlo
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08-14-2019, 10:35 AM
Post: #14
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Hello!

(08-14-2019 08:53 AM)Giancarlo Wrote:  The 41 is still surprising me because of the multitude of devices that it can connect to. It wasn’t a calculator it was an environment, a platform...

I think that modular concepts were not unique to HP at that time. For example in 1979, the same year as the HP-41 was released, Novag introduced the Chess Champion Mk III chess computer (my grandfather had one of those that's why I know about it https://www.chessprogramming.org/Chess_C...System_III). Instead of selling you a complete product, they split it into the basic unit, a printer, a recheargeable battery unit, a memory module and an LCD chess screen. All these units could be plugged together in any combination, just like with the 41C. But the concept did not really survice. Today we are back to all-in-one devices again.

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Max
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08-14-2019, 11:12 AM
Post: #15
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-12-2019 03:00 PM)KeithB Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 01:39 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello!


It is really the first time that I heard about "the real McCoy"... One learns something new every day. Or "Infinite divesity, infinite combinations" as Mr Spock would say :-)

Regards
Max

*I* say it comes from the Hatfields and McCoys. 8^)
If you really want some fun look into the etymology of Okay sometime.

One possible origin is Scotland where the phrase "The real MacKay" was used in 1856. In the Canada and the USA it came from Elijah McCoy's steam engine parts. They were of high quality and locomotive engineers would ask is an engine had the real McCoy oil drip cup attached. No one has ever been able to trace the phrase to a member of the McCoy clan that feuded with the Hatfields. Okay? OK!

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08-14-2019, 05:50 PM
Post: #16
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-14-2019 10:35 AM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello!

(08-14-2019 08:53 AM)Giancarlo Wrote:  The 41 is still surprising me because of the multitude of devices that it can connect to. It wasn’t a calculator it was an environment, a platform...

I think that modular concepts were not unique to HP at that time. For example in 1979, the same year as the HP-41 was released, Novag introduced the Chess Champion Mk III chess computer (my grandfather had one of those that's why I know about it https://www.chessprogramming.org/Chess_C...System_III). Instead of selling you a complete product, they split it into the basic unit, a printer, a recheargeable battery unit, a memory module and an LCD chess screen. All these units could be plugged together in any combination, just like with the 41C. But the concept did not really survice. Today we are back to all-in-one devices again.

Regards
Max

Wow, seems a very complete chess system. I didn’t know about that. Probably this strategy of splitting a system in modules allowed prices to be cheaper and people had the possibility to build they own system one piece at a time.

Thanks

Giancarlo
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08-14-2019, 07:15 PM
Post: #17
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-14-2019 05:50 PM)Giancarlo Wrote:  Wow, seems a very complete chess system. I didn’t know about that. Probably this strategy of splitting a system in modules allowed prices to be cheaper and people had the possibility to build they own system one piece at a time.

More likely it enabled the manufacturer to charge more for the complete package...

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08-14-2019, 07:25 PM
Post: #18
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
Hello!

(08-14-2019 07:15 PM)grsbanks Wrote:  More likely it enabled the manufacturer to charge more for the complete package...

Yes. Just as HP did when they introduced the 41C. The next day after you bought it you needed to return to the shop and buy extra memory. And if you had an HP-67 or Ti59 before, you would not want to live without a card reader... Adding memory and the card reader almost doubled the price of the calculator.

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Max
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08-14-2019, 09:09 PM
Post: #19
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-14-2019 07:25 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello!

(08-14-2019 07:15 PM)grsbanks Wrote:  More likely it enabled the manufacturer to charge more for the complete package...

Yes. Just as HP did when they introduced the 41C. The next day after you bought it you needed to return to the shop and buy extra memory. And if you had an HP-67 or Ti59 before, you would not want to live without a card reader... Adding memory and the card reader almost doubled the price of the calculator.

Regards
Max

I still wish I could get a new handheld unit that was as expandable!

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08-15-2019, 06:51 PM
Post: #20
RE: ST:TNG Tricorder design was inspired by HP-41C
(08-14-2019 07:25 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello!

(08-14-2019 07:15 PM)grsbanks Wrote:  More likely it enabled the manufacturer to charge more for the complete package...

Yes. Just as HP did when they introduced the 41C. The next day after you bought it you needed to return to the shop and buy extra memory. And if you had an HP-67 or Ti59 before, you would not want to live without a card reader... Adding memory and the card reader almost doubled the price of the calculator.

Regards
Max

It doubled (without almost) at least here in Italy. :)

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