Replica Prop Maker Creates Star Trek Computer. But Why?
August 22, 2013

Replica Prop Maker Creates Star Trek Computer. But Why?

In the future — at least the Star Trek version of the future — there might be less desire for things like money, TV shows and attempts to end wars. However, the greatest change of all could come in computer technology as keyboards might be a thing of the past.

We’ve seen this for a while, and let’s not forget the hilarious scene in 1986’s Star Trek: The Voyage Home where Mr. Scott tries to talk to a vintage Apple computer, only to be told to “use the keyboard.”

Now the man behind has managed to create a replica “desktop computer” from Star Trek: Voyager. noted it features a vacuformed styrene plastic bezel and a screen based cast in resin. There is no actual screen and instead it is a photographic film and smoked plexiglass that is illuminated by 320 LEDs that were reportedly stripped form a pair of video lights.

The question is why would someone need this? The post noted, “Replica Star Trek: Voyager computer is cooler than your real computer.”

This reporter would like to respectfully disagree. My old Commodore 64 computer that I haven’t used since 1991 is probably cooler than this replica because at least it could do something! This replica — it isn’t even a real prop — doesn’t do anything but look at something that was a static piece of the scenery.

There has been a shift in these prop replicas; in other words, copies of things that weren’t real in the first place!

A prop from Star Trek: Voyager might be cool in that it was actually on set and might have appeared on screen, even if just blurred out in the background. This, on the other hand, is only a copy of a prop.

On the TV show Pawn Stars on History, there have been a few copies of props over the years, including a full-sized Delorean made to look like the car from Back to the Future, and the same seller had made a full-sized replica prop from Ghost Busters. The latter sold — to the pawn shop — for around $1,000, but the car did not.

The question is who would pay big dollars for a replica of a prop?

Actually, there is a cottage industry of prop-like items, where people can buy items — costumes, accoutrements and the like — that resemble those items used in the movies. The problem, as various reality TV shows including Pawn Stars, have shown is that over time what is really a prop and what is a copy begins to blur

Official props tend to be fairly crude. This is especially true of older items, as the resolution on TV allowed the items to look OK without needing to look great. Many replicas were actually better up close than the props as fans could touch and hold these items.

Officially sold props usually come with a certificate of authenticity, but even these can be dubious as any collector will tell you. The result is often akin “genuine artificial leather” as in fake leather by another name.

So, maybe Trekkers or Trekkies or whatever they like to be called can appreciate a keyboard-less computer from a future that will likely never come. Or maybe they’ll want to drive in a car that wasn’t actually used in a movie, and which, more importantly, can’t travel through time.

If it looks good on the shelf, that should be all that matters. But again, my old Commodore 64 can at least play Sid Meier’s Pirates, which is more than Captain Janeway’s keyboard-less computer could ever do.

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer and has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and the fitness sports industry for more than 15 years. In that time his work has appeared in more than three dozen publications including Newsweek, PC Magazine and Wired. His work has also appeared on,,, and Peter is a regular writer for

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