Many of Star Trek’s technologies once seemed like far-fetched plot devices with only a faint basis in reality. Today, many of these imagined devices — like communicators, padds, and even tricorders — have proven Star Trek’s ability to predict and inspire the future of technology.
The Universal Translator was the ultimate plot device. Darmok and a few other exceptions aside, the device enabled Starfleet crews to speak directly with anyone they met, fluently and in a language TV audiences could understand.
Now, Universal Translator technology has entered reality. Microsoft has unveiled Skype Translator, a real-time translation program for video chat. This adaptation of text-based translation programs builds on decades of research and practice to include new video technology.
How long until someone programs it to understand Klingon?