4

In the recent Undecided with Matt Ferrell video Why the Future of AI & Computers Will Be Analog after about 05:44, the Original Star Trek TV show's Mr. Spock is shown holding a analog flight computer. I don't know the episode, but by the looks of the open electronics racks in the background on the left, this seems to be an emergency situation and the device is a backup measure.

Is it possible from the screen capture here, or from other sources, to determine which episode of TOS this is from?

Since Spock is pretty famous for doing complex warp calculations in his head on par with the ship's main computer, is there any in-universe context why he needed to turn to a "handheld device"?

Question: In what TOS episode did Spock use a prop known as an analog flight computer, and why did he need to turn to a "handheld device" in this case?


From the linked video:

In general, it was never that analog computing didn’t do its job — quite the opposite. Pilots still use flight computers, a form of slide rule, to perform calculations by hand, no juice necessary.

"In general, it was never that analog computing  didn’t do its job — quite the opposite. Pilots still use flight computers, a form of slide  rule, to perform calculations by hand,  no juice necessary." Screenshot from the Undecided with Matt Ferrell video "Why the Future of AI & Computers Will Be Analog" https://youtu.be/6Y6FJVqzivc?t=352

3
  • companion question in Aviation SE: Which aviation flight computer is Spock using aboard the enterprise (as a prop)?
    – uhoh
    Apr 16 at 1:10
  • 1
    @Giacomo1968 my point is that since Spock was computationally competitive with the ship's main computer, surely he could have done what a small device like that could do in his head with ease. I'm trying to find out if there's context that explains why, in this case, Spock couldn't do something a small device could do.
    – uhoh
    Apr 16 at 2:10
  • 1
    To him, this is an abacus Apr 16 at 13:58

1 Answer 1

7

That's "The Naked Time" season 1, episode 6.

The Memory Alpha article linked above has another shot of the computer:

Spock holds the flight computer in his left hand as he adjusts a control with his right

It's described as an "E6B Flight Computer." (If Memory Alpha can be believed it's specifically a "Jeppesen CSG-1P Slide Graphic Computer.")

Spock is also shown using the same E6B in "The Corbomite Maneuver," "Mudd's Women," "Who Mourns for Adonais," and "Wolf in the Fold."

4
  • 1
    It may be worth noting that Dax when trying to calculate a rapid acceleration problem is using the computer to calculate warp 3 stuff and then Bashir chimes in with an Impulse calculation when trying to calculate how fast they can escape from a base with its shield up around them. Presumably Spock is somewhere above Dax. Hard to say how he compares to Bashir. youtu.be/2aH2HoWcdrE?si=O_-SjzHdZhqdkxoO Apr 16 at 3:42
  • Wow! I wish I'd asked "In how many episodes...?" Thanks!
    – uhoh
    Apr 16 at 5:18
  • 2
    FWIW, Jeppesen is still around providing (usually rather more digital) things for flight computers. I regularly have to deal with their ANF firmware. Amusing to see their name pop up here.
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 16 at 15:59
  • @lucasbachmann: Re: "Presumably Spock is somewhere above Dax": I'm not sure. "Trials and Tribble-ations" seems to go out of its way to suggest that Spock and Dax are in the same ballpark.
    – ruakh
    Apr 16 at 18:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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