The United Federation of Planets supposedly works on a principle of mutually shared advancements. In TOS: Arena they say UFP works on “the principles of universal liberty, rights, and equality, and to share their knowledge and resources in peaceful cooperation, scientific development, space exploration, and mutual defense.” Yet everything I can find that has helped humanity, was invented by humans.

  • Dr. Emory Erickson (human) invented the transporter technology, which also led to replicator technology

  • Richard Daystrom (human) Invented centralized starship command and control centers (ship’s computer).

  • Zephram Cochrane (human) invented the warp drive.

  • Paul Stamets & Straal (humans) invented the spore drive

  • Dr. Burnham (human) invented the time suit

  • Dr. Carol & David Marcus. (human) invented the genesis device

  • Dr. Noonian Soong (human) invented the positronic brain & sentient androids.

  • Federation Starfleet (race not mentioned) designed holotechnology used on starships. It was not from the Xyrillians (they were not Federation).

  • Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po (Xahean) invented a dilithium incubator to recristallise dilithium bringing the planet great political power. They never shared it with humans. Scotty (human) later invented a dilithium incubator using 20th century fission reactors (Voyage Home)

Humans have shared technology with the Ocampa and many others. But what technology if any have aliens shared with humans that has benefited our race?

(This is limited to invented technology, which has been shared under the UFP agreement. Not simply discoveries like medicine)

A good answer will help us understand how Humanity has benefited from the mutual exchange principles of the UFP.

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    Semi dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/109013/…
    – Valorum
    Oct 13, 2019 at 18:49
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    Velcro: memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Velcro
    – J Doe
    Oct 13, 2019 at 18:50
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    They stole Romulan cloaking technology in ST:TOS episode "The Enterprise Incident".
    – Lexible
    Oct 13, 2019 at 19:18
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    If you are limiting this to 'how Humanity has benefitted from the mutual exchange principles of the UFP' then I suppose that all of ST-ENT is non-compliant ...?
    – user62584
    Oct 14, 2019 at 2:00
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    There was no UFP during the three seasons of ST-ENT. Since there was no UFP there can be no instance of aliens contributing to humanity within the restriction of 'the mutual exchange principles of the UFP'. Thus all of ST-ENT cannot be used to answer this question; ergo non-compliant.
    – user62584
    Oct 14, 2019 at 2:34

4 Answers 4


There's a passage in the Star Trek: Federation - The First 150 Years book that mentions the immediate impact of technology sharing amongst Federation members.

Starfleet Command, meanwhile, was not waiting for these students to graduate. Once the Constitution was ratified, no time was wasted putting the combined resources of the worlds of the Federation to work. The shipyard on Utopia Planitia received an influx of alien expertise and technology, and the Warp 7 ships that had been slowly coming together came off the assembly line at a breakneck pace.

The technology would also flow back in the opposite direction

According to his [April's] plan, every founding member of the Federation would make a contribution to the ships. Earth would design and build the superstructure; the Vulcans would provide the scientific sensors and equipment; the Andorians would provide the weapons and defensive systems; Tellar would provide the creature comforts of food and recreation technology; Proxima would design and build the warp engines. Each of these worlds would have a personal stake in a project that would provide their homeworld with its own production boon. The founding members would then subcontract to newer members, eventually making the program very attractive to every world in the Federation. April had envisioned this as a project that would go far beyond the initial twelve ships and this was how he would guarantee its longevity.

  • Is this different than shared labor? “Each of these worlds would have a personal stake in a project that would provide their homeworld with its own production boon.” Does it include any advancement by name that humanity didn’t already have?
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 26, 2019 at 19:35
  • Each world was contributing the things that they could do well. The Andorians, for example, had the most powerful weapons, so they contributed their expertise in those as well as sharing that tech with newer members
    – Valorum
    Oct 26, 2019 at 19:39
  • This is a really good answer that I don’t think most would ever have found on screen. Improved production techniques, not explicitly mentioned. I imagine their processes allowed better precision machining, more processing power, miniaturization, or some such, accelerating the production of starships (= benefit). It’s difficult to imagine that excerpt being successful outside a capitalist economy however; “job creation” as a benefit would undermine a lot of ST canon.
    – Vogon Poet
    Jun 19, 2023 at 13:46

How do you define benefit our race and how do you define invent, Cochran for example discovered warp drive for humanity but he did not invent it, many species had warp drive for centuries before humanity entered the scene.

Ultimately the best way I can answer this question is to state that research is not done in a vacuum a discovery is built upon all the research by all the people before the one credited with the discovery. In the specific case of warp drive one could argue that specifically being told there is a speed faster that warp 1.0 benefited humanity.

  • Cochran did not discover a warp drive, he invented it. You discover things which already exist. I believe you are confusing ideas about “first invention.” Many races invented warp before humans but it was never shared with us, so we invented it ourselves. This is why many races use different technologies in warp engines. Romulans use singularities, for example. Each race invented their own engines. It’s not like something can only be invented one time.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 14, 2019 at 1:30
  • Fair enough, maybe I should have mentioned the computer instead of warp drive.
    – Revenant
    Oct 14, 2019 at 1:35
  • Does this answer include any alien technological contribution to humanity?
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 14, 2019 at 1:37
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    “one could argue that specifically being told there is a speed faster that warp 1.0 benefited humanity” - We had not made first contact yet. Who told Cochran about warp?
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 14, 2019 at 1:45
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    @VogonPoet the phoenix could only go warp 1, but after they met the Vulcans it would have been obvious that they can go faster (they may not know higher warp was possible until first contact). Even knowing the location of Vulcan would imply that faster speeds would be needed to make the trip practical. By making first contact the Vulcans (whether given intentionally or not) would have shown what is possible
    – Matt
    Jan 27, 2020 at 16:37

Absolutely. The point of the Federation of Planets is to share knowledge and work together to better everyone as a whole. Even though the Vulcans were a bit apprehensive giving away their secrets to Humans at first (as displayed in the pilot episode of Enterprise), they eventually ended up sharing many things (also demonstrated in Enterprise on many occasions as T'Pol becomes more certain that Humans will not use the tech for anything malicious).

Aside from what is blatantly shown in Enterprise, few other examples are listed below:

DS9 - The Defiant (a Federation ship) has Romulan Cloaking Technology and what looks like Klingon weapons

Voyager - 7 of 9 upgrades the ship with Borg tech, which the entire Federation uses later on

Voyager - Janeway purchases Klingon time travel tech, which as far as we know leads to the Federation also owning it

Note: Voyager is constantly accumulating upgrades to their ship from various benevolent species that they encounter throughout the Delta Quadtrant.

  • First, you include Enterprise without giving any example. What did Vulcan give to humanity? Is there an example? Second, did Romulus "share" cloaking or did we steal it (per The Enterprise Incident). Third, looks like Klingon weapons - reference please? Memory Alpha doesn't mention this. Third: You bring a lot of things Voyager did, but don't show anything which was shared for the benefit humanity. I feel your answer fits better in this generic alien tech question, but not here. Thanks.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 14, 2019 at 16:15
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    It doesn't matter how the UFP acquired Romulan cloaking technology. Romulans aren't UFP members, so it wasn't "shared under the UFP agreement." Oct 14, 2019 at 20:48

The Ferengi invented Synthehol.

My headcannon - the fake Enterprise seen in The Mark Of Gideon was a holodeck. We see this because Kirk looks out through a window, and sees a crowd of people, which then shimmers and becomes a view of space. This is obviously an image being created on the fly. The Gideons later gave the technology to the Federation.

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    An image on a window does not need holodeck technology. When Star Trek TOS aired, in 1966, we already could display an image in a window (think, television :-) )
    – Basya
    Oct 11, 2020 at 10:57

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