Reverse Engineering Star Trek's Holographic Technology
The EC Henry YouTube channel recently posted an interesting fan theory speculation about Star Trek's viewscreens.
Basically, the way a fan can determine whether a screen on the Enterprise is a holographic image or a two-dimensional image is by the border around the monitor. All desktop computer monitors, upper bridge monitors and the main viewscreen aboard the Enterprise are holographic denoted by a blue border around the monitor. All other screens on the Enterprise that don't have a blue border such as the monitors in sickbay are two-dimensional.
I think this is a brilliant hypothesis that I am willing to accept as headcanon. One reason I can easily accept this as possible is HOLY CRAP THE HOLO-COMMUNICATORS ALSO HAVE A BLUE BORDER. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS FIRST????
Photo Source: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com
Of course, in our "real world" the original Star Trek series was filmed in analog so the blue border was probably for margin of error image framing in the post-production process. Blue, like green, is one of the least components of human skin tone. That is why blue screen and green screen are used for chroma key compositing.
But why the blue border in terms of the Star Trek universe? The Memory Alpha and Memory Beta wikis aren't much help answering this. Therefore, I am going to make some notes below and maybe the steemit community can help me go beyond the fan theory EC Henry laid out and have redemption for not seeing the obvious first.
Photo Source: YouTube
- The warp core of Galaxy-class starships emit blue light while in operation. However, there is no direct connection between the viewscreens and the warp reactor.
- Full color holograms can be produced using red, green and blue lasers. But why not a red/green/blue monitor border than?
- Maybe something to do with fluorescence? Maybe something about emitter and/or holographic diodes is in play? Haitz's law makes magnesium-doped gallium nitride standard Starfleet mood lighting and reminds them of Earth's blue sky?
- Emission spectra? Blue photons have the shortest wavelength (around 450 nanometers) and the highest energy than any other photon in the human (humanoid?) visual spectrum.
I suspect that last detail on the list may be the closest to solving the question of why Federation 3D viewscreens have a blue border. Those monitors are usually or can be connected to subspace communications.
Wikipedia describes Cherenkov radiation as follows
Cherenkov radiation (pronunciation: /tʃɛrɛnˈkɔv/) is an electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle (such as an electron) passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium.
That does seem to read like the closest thing pre-warp technology 21st century humans have to a subspace signal. If you look at the photos in the linked Wikipedia entry for Cherenkov radiation it appears as a glowing brilliant blue. As mentioned above blue photons have a short wavelength which also means blue photons have a high frequency and higher frequencies are more intense when it comes to Cherenkov radiation. In reality most Cherenkov radiation is ultraviolet and beyond the visible spectrum.
Anyway, I really need to figure out this whole Federation technology blue light thing and crack Star Trek's holographic viewscreen secrets.
Photo Source: YouTube