Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery Debuts a Game-Changing Piece of Tech

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 1, "That Hope is You," now streaming on CBS All Access.

The Season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery leaves the comforts of the time period fans of the franchise are familiar with to explore uncharted territory. Following the conclusion of the second season -- which saw the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery time-travel forward in time in order to defeat Control -- Michael Burnham crash lands in the year 3188. Unfortunately, she was leading the trip aboard her Red Angel suit, and, for the time being, her crew is nowhere to be found.

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After meeting a courier named Cleveland Booker, Michael learns all about the future, and the many surprises it holds. For one thing, the Federation is no more, and her phaser and tricorder are considered antiques. What's more, there's a new piece of transporter technology around -- one that proves incredibly useful.

Transporter pads are one of the pillars of the Star Trek franchise. All of the Federation's starships are equipped with these pads, which allow the crews to beam to and from other planets and ships. These pads have been used in every iteration of the franchise and they have always been extremely useful. Throughout the years, small changes have been made to the transporter pads -- in certain occasions, they were even made smaller, and transportable.

Now, however, "That Hope Is You" takes the transporter technology even further to offer something that is truly game-changing for Star Trek. In the year 3188, transporters are now portable. They are so small that they can be worn by any individual, and it can essentially be used as a personal teleportation device. Burnham and Book both use these transporters to escape their pursuers.

With these devices, the show has made several jumps that change what a Star Trek chase scene can be. Here, the action moves from one place to the next, and from one specific terrain to a whole different one in an instant. So far, the only limitations these devices have is that they necessitate a 30-second recharge, and they can be tracked by others -- unless they are used in the water. Moreover, it remains to be seen if these transporters can take someone off-planet, or if they can only be used to move around in limited distances.

Regardless of whether they are able to take someone into space or not, these portable transporters already prove to be an important addition to the Star Trek franchise. Now, the characters on the show don't necessarily need a pad to beam from one location to the other. They are bound to have more uses throughout the season, and it will certainly make the action all the more kinetic.

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