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Google made a real-life Star Trek communicator

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Google communicator

Google has made a prototype of a communicator badge that resembles the one used on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In the popular sci-fi TV show, Captain Picard and crew can be seen tapping the badge on their chests to communicate with each other. It inspired one Google executive to built a prototype.

Amit Singhal is a senior vice president and software engineer at Google. He heads up the company's search initiatives, and the communicator prototype was his baby.

As Singhal told Time, the prototype is a circular device with a built-in microphone and Bluetooth, which allows it to connect to a smartphone. Like the Star Trek original, it was activated with a light tap.

Rather than a communicator, however, the prototype was intended to act as a handy search tool. It was intended to make Google searches more convenient for people, without forcing them to fumble for their phones.

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"I always wanted that pin," Singhal said of the Star Trek gizmo. "You just ask it anything and it works. That's why we were like, 'Let's go prototype that and see how it feels.'"

So where is this Google communicator now? Sadly it never went past the testing phase, but news of its existence is a good indicator of the company's adventurous spirit and its obsession with voice search and natural language recognition - not to mention its inherent nerdiness.

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