The future is now, as 24th century technology meets 21st century mobile devices in the form of a Star Trek PADD app. Available today from CBS Interactive, which developed it in conjunction with CBS Mobile and ArcTouch, the official Star Trek PADD (Personal Access Display Device) app features an impressive, interactive database of Star Trek television show information, ranging from characters and ships to alien worlds and an episode guide, as well as Star Trek images, including a faithful reproduction of the LCARS interface, plus a recognizable computer voice, familiar Star Trek sounds and more, all spanning from The Original Series to Star Trek: Enterprise.
Additionally, fans can keep track of the latest Star Trek news and interact with fellow Star Trek fans from the official Star Trek Facebook page and Twitter, both of which are directly integrated into the apps.
“Star Trek fans are passionately involved with all things Star Trek,” said Rob Gelick, SVP and GM, CBS Mobile. “Through this app, both die-hard Trekkers and casual show enthusiasts are able to delve into a rich array of computer sounds, images and Star Trek-related information.”
Three particularly passionate Trek fans played pivotal roles in the inspiration of the Star Trek PADD App: Eric Shapiro, Denise Okuda and Michael Okuda. Shapiro, of ArcTouch, developed the app, while Michael Okuda was in charge of the computer interface designs of the Starships Enterprise as part of his job as scenic art supervisor and technical consultant on TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise, and Denise Okuda was a graphic artist and video/computer graphics supervisor on DS9, Voyager and Enterprise.
“I am a huge Star Trek fan,” says Shapiro, who co-founded ArcTouch in 2009 with Adam Fingerman after a career spent at Apple, where they worked as product managers on what eventually became iOS. “My dad was a fan, and I think I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was born, which was two years after the original show started in 1966. I have been to several conventions and I’m lucky my wife is just as much of a fan. At my first startup, one of my employees got me the book Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek. I'm not saying I'm Captain Picard, but one can always dream.’
And why now for a Star Trek PADD app? “We came up with this proposal because, as Star Trek fans, with the launch of the iPad, technology finally hit the point where we could simulate the PADD device,” Shapiro replies. “Then the question was: how do we transport people today into that future universe, and that’s where the conversation with CBS began.” A highlight of the process came when Shapiro and the ArcTouch team offered a demonstration of the app to the Okudas. “(That) was one of the most nerve-wracking moments,” Shapiro recalls. “Michael was the official designer of the LCARS computers displays used in TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Getting Michael and Denise’s approval is a huge feather in our cap.”
And, indeed, the Okudas were duly impressed. “My favorite part of the Star Trek PADD app?” Michael Okuda asks, repeating a question just posed to him. “I love being able to use a functional implementation of my LCARS interface style to browse through actual Star Trek information. Back when the PADD first appeared on TNG, none of us imagined that today we’d be able to hold the real thing in our hands. But the Star Trek PADD App, running on your iPad, is an actual miniature, handheld, touch-sensitive, 24th-century-style computer screen.”
Adds Denise Okuda, “The Star Trek PADD app shows that yesterday’s visionary science fiction can become today’s real-world technology, thanks to the brilliance of today’s scientists, engineers, programmers, and designers. The Star Trek PADD app is a little piece of Star Trek’s future brought to life. It’s not only authentic Trek, but it’s fun, too.”
The Star Trek PADD app can be purchased for $4.99 on the App Store for the iPad.