Technology (A to Z)


  • Ablative armor Hull armor utilized on the most recent Starfleet vessels such as the U.S.S. Defiant class and the U.S.S. Prometheus. Ablative armor is an additional reactive plating imposing a counterforce to incoming weapon fire, thereby dissipating its energy.
  • ACB Acronym for Annular Confinement Beam, a spatial matrix generated by the primary energizing coils of a transporter system. The ACB determines the geometry for the subsequent scanning and dematerialization process.
  • Accelerated critical neural pathway formation Enhancement of human brain functions through genetic encoding. Julian Bashir's brain was improved at the age of six. The procedure, like many other forms of genetic engineering, is outlawed in the Federation.
  • Airlock Area on a starship or space station which can be pressurized and depressurized to provide controlled access to open space or to docked vessels. An airlock consists of at least one chamber with one inner and one outer door. The Cardassian airlocks at Deep Space Nine have two chambers.
  • Alternative timeline Any timeline which is different from the currently valid timeline, in particular a timeline which does not exist any more because of a time travel or another method to alter history.
  • An alternative timeline is equivalent to the "normal" course of time, since only an external observer not affected by timeline changes is able to perceive the difference (see Ex Time Travel - General Considerations). The concept is similar to a parallel universe, still, parallel timelines depend on one another which inevitably leads to paradoxes.
  • Android Humanoid robot, basically consisting of a computer system, actuators and sensors inside a human-like body. Androids are intentionally designed this way so as to work in the same environment and to perform similar tasks as humans. Lt. Cmdr. Data is the only android so far who has been legally acknowledged as a sentient lifeform in the Federation.
  • Antigrav Anti-gravity units that allow to handle heavy cargo. Antigravs are available as hand-held devices and in form of pallets (see also gravity generator). Antigravs are probably based on the same principle as the gravity generators on starships. Either antigravs generate a reverse gravity field that compensates for the existing natural or artificial gravity, or they are capable of shielding a volume from gravity.
  • Antimatter Complementary form of matter in which the single particle has the same mass but reversed charge. The mutual annihilation of matter and antimatter releases an enormous amount of energy and is employed to power a starship's systems (see warp core).
  • Antimatter generator Device located on deck 42 on a Galaxy-class vessel which serves to generate antimatter for the warp drive in case the ship cannot be resupplied in a refuel facility. In normal operation mode onboard antimatter generation is not efficient. It is obvious that more energy is necessary to produce antimatter than the energy content of the obtained antimatter. The only reason for this energy conversion is that the matter/antimatter reaction provides much more power (energy per time) than a fusion reaction. This power is required for the warp drive, while the other ship systems may alternatively be powered by the impulse (fusion) reactor. It remains unknown whether other starship classes have antimatter generators too.
  • Antitime A concept of time running in reverse direction. Time and antitime are supposed to act like matter and antimatter, causing a breach in space-time upon their collision. It seems Q intentionally created antitime to fool Picard in TNG: "All Good Things". The theory of antitime does exist in real world physics, yet, it is mere speculation when it is supposed to occur (possibly in a contracting universe or in the center of a black hole) and what the impact will be.
  • Assimilation Borg term for forced integration of lifeforms and technology into their Collective. For humanoids, assimilation implies transformation into a drone, thereby completely losing their individuality. Nanoprobes injected into the body are key components in this process. Technology is assimilated by combining and gradually merging existing Borg and new technology. The difference between the human research approach and the assimilation concept becomes most obvious in VOY: "Scorpion". The mighty Borg Collective is helpless against Species 8472 that cannot be assimilated, while a few people on a small starship find a solution through extensive research.
  • Astrometrics Stellar cartography lab aboard a Federation starship, employed to chart regions of space and to determine the ship's position. The department on the Enterprise-D was called "stellar cartography", while it's "astrometrics" on Voyager. It can be supposed that both are synonymous.
  • Atmospheric system Part of the life support systems that provides breathable air and comfortable temperature and humidity on a starship. Class-M atmosphere is the standard setting on Federation starships, implying 26°C temperature, 45% relative humidity and 101kPa air pressure with a composition of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% trace gases. Part of the starship volume can be switched to other environmental conditions. Oxygen is produced by photosynthetic processing of CO2.
  • Autodestruct Extreme measure to prevent a starship from being captured by an enemy, also referred to as self destruct. The auto destruct can be initiated by the captain, acknowledged by voice recognition and personal command code. In most cases it is necessary that the first officer or other senior officers confirm the auto destruct. A silent count-down can be selected in order not to warn enemy forces that are already aboard. It seems Capt. Janeway was the only starship captain who is authorized to destroy her ship all alone (VOY: "Dreadnought", "Deadlock"). Picard had to wait until "Nemesis".


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.