I used to cover the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas every year, and one of the good parts was always making fun of friends who dropped real cash to go to the Star Trek experience in the Hilton. I’m not at CES this year (thank god) but have already received one text message from a friend upset that he can’t enjoy the old tradition, because the STE has closed. End of an era!

To placate the dozens of Trekkies attending CES this year, Paramount and Lenovo (the folks that make the great little ThinkPad laptops) set up a display in one of the exhibit halls showing off three props from the upcoming film. There’s Uhura’s communication module, which looks exactly as you’d expect, Kirk’s communicator, looking fairly Motorola, and Bones’s tricorder, looking ready to slice up a few battle droids any second now. Which crappy jargon goes in a sentence about that prop: dilithium crystals or midichlorians?

I’m not nearly Trekkie enough to know if there’s a precedent for that Tricorder design. (EDIT: There is — see below.) I miss the original unit, which looked like a cross between a Polaroid camera and cassette recorder.

EDIT: To clarify, I think the whining this one prop will set in motion is far more hilarious than the fact that it looks a bit like a device from another film. Looking at the scale of these props, the Tricorder-labeled one (which might be mis-labeled) isn’t terribly large. There is, of course, zero to get worked up about here. This photo isn’t a great image of the salt-shaker prop from the original series, but it shows that this new gear isn’t really off-target.

Trekmovie.com has the images in juicy, big resolution. Thanks to Brian Henne for the tip.