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TOS-era lights, levers and switches

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We all know that the at-first-glance antiquated flashing lights, switches, levers etc on the TOS Enterprise were simply the result of a 1960s view of the future.

However, has any canonical or semi-canonical revisionist explanation been offered as to why such user interfaces were employed in the 23rd century? The preceding unsigned comment was added by 172.143.177.215 (talk).

Firstly, I object to the term "antiquated". We STILL use lights, switches, and levers in many many applications today, even where "touchscreens" etc would also work because they are simple to maintain and easy to read/manipulate.
The TOS instruments depicted capabilities centuries beyond their mid-20th century equivilants. Take just the Engineering station on the bridge of the Enterprise-nil. ONE man, using a span of console not much larger than the span of his outstretched arms, could monitor and control the ENTIRE engineering functions of the ship directly if need be. Contrast that with the Main Mission room for the Apollo program, where it took dozens of people EACH with a console that big just to MONITOR the capsule systems in flight...they had no direct control over it.Capt Christopher Donovan 02:14, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, I said "at-first-glance antiquated", which is a rather different sentiment to the one to which you object. I certainly did not intend to criticize Matt Jeffries et al for somehow not being farsighted enough. I simply wondered whether any canonical explanation for the apparent anachronism existed. After all, such interfaces had all but disappeared by TMP.

My own view is that such controls were simply en vogue during the TOS era - a trend. After all, most of the ship's systems were presumably maintained by its extremely powerful computer.. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 81.101.118.210 (talk).

True to an extent, but those interfaces were in use a lot longer than you indicate...all the way from the contols of the Phoenix (depicted in "First Contact" [movie]), through the NX-01 Enterprise (2150s) through the time of ST III (movie) (2280s), where we see the earliest "touch screen" controls (on the bridge of Excelsior).Capt Christopher Donovan 08:09, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
One way to view this situation is to believe for a moment that all the "at-first-glance antiquated" controls you see in the TOS-era are in fact more advanced than the technology we have today (out-universe). It is difficult to believe since we have already invented touch-screen systems similar to 24th century consoles but it is not for us to say what seems antiquated or "outdatedly" analog. It may well be very true that in the future (out-universe) those types of switches and buttons are some kind of new technology we do not yet understand or have come to appreciate.
I believe that for every kind of new invention, there will be a relapse of trends for that invention, for example, with the advent of the iPhone, there are those that can argue both ways as to which is better, touch-screen or tactile buttons. There may be a time that occurs out-universe where digital displays are once more replaced with analog input devices. Analog cameras are still in use and are being respected more and more as digital cameras increase in popularity and technology.
Another way to view the situation is to believe that all the controls you see in the TOS-era are in-fact not there. Just imagine touch-screens wherever you see switches and buttons. And I know there will be many fans who will disagree with not trusting what is on film, but there are many people who do that kind of role-play when watching ST (such as hearing sound in space, there is no air, therefore there is no sound, some people when watching space sci-fi movies must always tell themselves there's no sound in space, and there are others who let go of the roles of physics so they can enjoy the viewing experience).
Viaesta 00:11, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

That last point is very interesting. If the visuals are considered simply cues to the story, or representational, the 1960s look becomes unimportant. We, of course, do this all the time when it comes to actors - we accept without question that Kirstie Alley and Robin Curtis are both Saavik, despite their different appearance. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 172.212.230.122 (talk).

From VOY: "Extreme Risk" regarding the Delta Flyer's levers and knobs:
  • TUVOK: "And if we do, I suppose these useless design elements from your Captain Proton scenario will compensate for the problem."
  • PARIS: "Hey, every one of these knobs and levers is fully functional."
  • TUVOK: "And completely superfluous."
  • PARIS: "Maybe to you. I am tired of tapping panels. For once, I want controls that let me actually feel the ship I'm piloting."
Not really the answer the initial poster was looking for, but it does give acknowledgment to that form of technology, even if in reference to fictional 20th Century technology. --Alan 16:38, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

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