Not every Star Trek fan would love to have a working LCARS panel in their home or office, but you’d have to search a while to find one that wouldn’t. Today we’re sharing an incredible Star Trek: Lower Decks LCARS interface project put together by Rob, also known as meWho_System47 over at Twitter.
Rob is the creator of the System 47 Screensaver, available free for both macOS and Windows, and he’s been working on this stuff a long time – and it shows. The LCARS system presented is one from the animated Star Trek series Star Trek: Lower Decks, and is full of easter egg references to the show.
You can open the interface yourself on your own web browser by visiting MeWho.com/ritos.
LCARS is an acronym from the Star Trek universe that stands for Library Computer Access/Retrieval System. The user interface design was created by Michael Okuda a a means to convey a complex computer interfaces.
The design technique was first used on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, using backlit plastic panels, and it’s still in use today, albeit mainly as holographic interface projections on the live action shows. Lower Decks, though, still makes good use of it.
As you play with the web site, you’ll be delighted with the attention to detail.
On the ship’s map, you can watch the turbolifts dart around the lift conduits, see shuttles land and depart, and discover all sorts of minute details like a TARDIS in the shuttle bay, people beaming in and out of the transporter room, and a rubber ducky that beams to a new location each time you click on it. If you click on the marker for Holodeck 3, you’ll see the holodeck in use, with images from whatever program is being run (including Paris, ancient Egypt (with a Stargate next to the pyramids), a T-Rex, and even everyone’s favorite mad AI, Badgie. There is even supposed to be a koala in there, but we haven’t found it yet. There are even images from the James Webb Space Telescope to view. The attention to detail is staggering, and you could easily burn away hours of your life playing with it trying to find all the other Lower Decks references and to see what else it will do.
Of course, the whole point of an LCARS interface is to use one to make things happen, and Rob worked with James Mitchell to make it run on our favorite single board computer (SBC), the Raspberry Pi. We don’t yet know if there is a code repository available for this. If we find it, we’ll update this article with that information.
If you want to email Rob directly, you can do so at info@meWho.com. If you want to support his efforts by buying him a cup of coffee, here’s the link for that.
There are many web sites that maintain a list of LCARS related programs. Here is just a short list of them.
Have fun playing with Rob’s creation! But be careful of your buffer time.