Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As you can see in the below image and, as I'm sure most TNG watchers would have noticed, there are a series of orange 'plates' on Picard's desk. Does anyone know what these are (as in, does Picard ever use them, or talk about what they are?)?

enter image description here

share|improve this question
On occasion he types on them as if they are pads. – TheDoctor May 1 '14 at 21:42
They're the ignition keys for the Enterprise... – oɔɯǝɹ May 1 '14 at 21:45
up vote 10 down vote accepted

They look like giant isolinear chips or circuit boards.

I can't find any documentation on those exact ones, but these pretty-similar-looking ones from ST VI and ST VII are referred to as isolinear chips in a plexiglass isolinear chip holder: Similar-looking translucent sky blue (3), hot orange (5), and yellow (1) isolinear chips mounted upright on a clear plexiglass stand.

The ones on Picard's desk in TNG have more rounded corners, but they have roughly the same design.

You can see some slightly smaller and more conventional-looking isolinear chips on Troi's desk here: Frontal shot of Counselor Troi's light tan and white desk in front of her tan high-back chair. A PADD, a smaller screened device and some loose isolinear chips ranging from the small flat-stick-shaped to a couple of much larger ones are scattered on the desk. An isolinear chip holder is shown on the left side, with 4 or 5 largish square chips resting in it.

Here are some more from Picard's Enterprise-E ready room that are used in First Contact, Nemesis and Generations: Three isolinear chip holders holding a dozen large square and rectangular isolinear chips with 3 loose rectangular chips. Some are blue, others are green, yellow and hot orange. Picard in the Enterprise-E ready room with 5 or 6 PADDs laying on his desk. Two isolinear chip holders are to his left, another is on sitting on a shelf behind to the right of him.

Picard is seen holding a stylus or circuit-diagnostic/repair device to one of these plates in one episode. So they might be more like circuit boards or interactive e-readers than simply storage devices.

share|improve this answer
Cool. Now where do I get those? – LarissaGodzilla May 1 '14 at 10:04
The actual TV/film props cost a pretty penny:… (sold for $650) (sold for $400~600)… (sold for $8000) But you can find fan reproductions for a lot cheaper on eBay. – Lèse majesté May 1 '14 at 10:11
Yeah, well, not in germany, I'm afraid -.- – LarissaGodzilla May 1 '14 at 10:26
So, high-tech versions of the floppy disk? (The timing is certainly right..) – Izkata May 1 '14 at 12:26

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.