I was wondering how people in Star Trek hear the incoming transmissions. I thought they used speakers located in the rooms and corridors of space ships, but they also work outside. Does the sound come from the communicator itself? If so, this would be very unsecured, because other people could also hear this.

Have humans also implanted speakers like the Ferengi (DS9 4x07 'Little Green Men')?

  • @Richard They are all about the communicator and I did not want to spam questions
    – Motte001
    May 1, 2016 at 19:05
  • @Motte001: Welcome to the Stack Exchange. I cleaned up your question a bit. You might want to check out the NG Tech Manual at tech manual
    – sfhq_sf
    May 1, 2016 at 19:08

1 Answer 1



Let's say Scotty wants to talk to the Captain, so he presses a button on the communication panel and speaks: "Scott to Captain". If the Captain is aboard ship, the communication system simply plays his words over the ship's speakers as a page. To answer, the Captain has to find a communication panel; when using the panel, Scott and the Captain are then able to communicate via their panels like we use office speaker phones. If the Captain was away from the ship, the communication system processes his command, finds the Captain's communicator and makes it go "beep beep". The Captain opens his communicator and speaks through it like we use cell phones.

The key points in my "Scott to Captain" example:

  1. "Scott to Captain" is a command to the communication system, just like you might ask Siri for something. The system makes decisions about how to handle the request - how to notify the recipient of the communication request; one option is to play the request as a page, another is to "ring" a communicator.

  2. The communicator is very similar to a present-day cellphone. The other party's voice comes out of a speaker on the device which anyone close by can hear. The communication channel between devices may incorporate security and privacy measures, but device does not make any provision to keep a conversation from being overheard by someone in the user's vicinity.


More or less the same deal as TOS, except that they use pins instead of boxes. The pins have built-in microphones/speakers, so it would be a bit like having a miniature cellphone in permanent speaker mode pinned to your tunic,

  • Can you provide some evidence of the microphone/speaker in the TNG pins?
    – Valorum
    May 1, 2016 at 19:44
  • @Richard - you can see sometimes the users will tilt their heads downward as if to speak into them, or on a few occasions where someone is holding a pin, they will bring it up to their mouth to speak into it.
    – Anthony X
    May 1, 2016 at 19:53
  • Those certainly sound like the sort of examples you should add into your answer
    – Valorum
    May 1, 2016 at 19:54

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