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Old 02-17-2008, 09:16 AM
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Question Question about personal communicators

Ever since I’ve started watching TNG all those years ago, I’ve always wondered how personal communicators work. What I mean is, when you open a frequency by tapping it or simply call out someone’s name, how does the communicator know who you’re trying to reach? Does it work simply based on speech recognition?

I read the section dedicated to personal communicators in the TNG Technical Manual (fabulous book, by the way) and even though it explains a lot, it doesn’t say how the device can isolate the right frequency. Does everyone on a ship have their own personal one?

Any ideas?
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:56 AM
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Speech recognition does seem like the key component in how commbadges work, but commbadges are all linked to the central computer through their internal subspace transceivers. Each transceiver appears to be personalized for each individual like phone numbers. A call for "Commander Riker" will be recognized by the ship's computer and relayed through the communications system to Riker's specific commbadge transceiver.

The only confusion might be if two individuals have the same rank and name--for example, if there are about five guys who both answer to "Lieutenant Smith." In those cases, you probably have to be more specific about which Lieutenant Smith you want to talk to by including first name or even initial, if necessary.
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:10 PM
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Of course the combadges have to be different, since they are also used for localizing people (e.g. transporter)
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Old 02-17-2008, 03:23 PM
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They are personalized, but it always amazed me how fast they worked. A character would just tap it and say someone's name, and, as the show shows it at least, the character they're trying to contact would hear their message instantly. What I mean is, there's never any delay between a character tapping their badge and saying a name, and that character replying from the other end.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Commodore View Post
Speech recognition does seem like the key component in how commbadges work, but commbadges are all linked to the central computer through their internal subspace transceivers. Each transceiver appears to be personalized for each individual like phone numbers. A call for "Commander Riker" will be recognized by the ship's computer and relayed through the communications system to Riker's specific commbadge transceiver.

The only confusion might be if two individuals have the same rank and name--for example, if there are about five guys who both answer to "Lieutenant Smith." In those cases, you probably have to be more specific about which Lieutenant Smith you want to talk to by including first name or even initial, if necessary.
Good points all around. Thanks for the insight!
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Doctor View Post
They are personalized, but it always amazed me how fast they worked. A character would just tap it and say someone's name, and, as the show shows it at least, the character they're trying to contact would hear their message instantly. What I mean is, there's never any delay between a character tapping their badge and saying a name, and that character replying from the other end.
That was my next interrogation... That ship computer must be pretty darn fast!
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Vaako View Post
That was my next interrogation... That ship computer must be pretty darn fast!
That makes sense really, considering other things it can do. Like the holodeck safety subroutines. I don't know if I'd feel safe leaving it up to the computer to decide when something should be solid and when it shouldn't. Imagine, if it lagged for just a split second, you could end up with a holographic axe in your back.

But yeah, I mean, when they tap their badge and say someone's name, it's like that person hears their voice saying their name instantly, or that's the impression you get when it shows the process from either end. I always assumed the computer got the name, then forwarded the voice directly to the appropriate person, but if you watch it from the end of the person that's sending the message the person always replies almost right away. Now that's fast.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:27 AM
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Microsoft mustn't be building the software in the 23rd century and beyond...
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