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<   No. 1350   2006-10-07   >

Comic #1350

1 Paris: Sensors indicate something massive moving towards the bridge!
1 Iki Piki: Is it the Allosaurus?
2 Paris: Can't tell... the reading is indistinct.
3 Iki Piki: What sort of stupid sensors are those?!
4 Paris: I told Serron to install cameras, but no... he said these generic brand "sensors" were more Star Trekky.
4 Serron: And cheaper!

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I always wondered exactly what Star Trek's "sensors" actually were. Presumably they're some sort of combined passive and active electromagnetic measurement package. Which could technically include cameras, like those magical ones that somehow generate images of ships flying through space from the viewpoint of somewhere where there shouldn't be any cameras. Seriously. Watch the opening sequence of Star Trek: The Motion Picture again. Man, has that film dated.

2016-04-20 Rerun commentary: Actually, you can sort of do that thing where you generate a picture of something from a point of view where you don't have a camera. If you have cameras in other places, you can cross-reference the images and produce a 3D model of the scene, and then you can render the scene as it would appear from another point of view. People are doing this sort of stuff now, in the field known as computational photography. It also overlaps with 3D scanning and modelling, which in some sense is part of the same technical area.

So yes, it's possible that in an advanced technological civilisation you can generate exterior views of spaceships from a point of view where you don't have a camera. And this could even be useful for navigation and tactical manoeuvring purposes.

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