Did Star Trek: The Next Generation Inspire the iPad?

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Gail Albert Halaban/Corbis

If the iPad looks familiar, it’s because Trekkies have been making use of “smooth, flat, touch-based control panels” since the 1980’s.

They were known as “electronic clipboards” or PADDs. And those on board Enterprise-D turned to their Personal Access Display Devices while navigating through the 24th Century. As point of fact, a major factor in the creation of the PADD was to cut down on production costs.

“The iPad is the true Star Trek dream,” says Doug Drexler, who was vital in the design of the PADD, and has been involved in Star Trek productions since the 1960s.

Tech fans: Do you believe it?