Each year companies use Comic-Con International in San Diego to showcase new products that appeal to genre audiences.
One of this year’s coolest devices has to be a remote control that is in the shape of a ‘Star Trek’ original series phaser.
The pistol design is so unique because of the care and love The Wand Company took to create it.
The British firm previously made two ‘Doctor Who’ remote control devices in the shape of sonic screwdrivers. Those remotes got them some well-deserved attention.
“The people that handle the licensing for CBS in the U.K. contacted us and said could you do a phaser?” revealed Chris Barnardo of The Wand Company.
After agreeing to develop a phaser remote, the question was which one to base it on.
“We looked at the different phasers that we could do,” said Barnardo. “The ‘Next Gen’ one is cool. And the ‘Next Generation’ is really my favorite of all the ‘Star Treks’, but the phaser looks just like a remote control anyway.”
So instead, they decided to reach back into the ‘Star Trek’ archive for a design.
“The phaser for ‘The Original Series’ is such a cool thing. However the reference for it is really poor.”
The team found only poor photos of the 1960s phaser exists on the internet. That became a major stumbling block for development.
“Originally we wanted to put four AAA batteries in the grip and use it like a power pack. But that made it five millimeters longer. It couldn’t be the correct length,” said Barnardo. “So what we decided to do was change the power arrangement and put the power in the black phaser on top.”
However, the Wand Company still needed some help from Greg Jein, the owner of the last original 1960s ‘Star Trek’ phaser in existence, to make the phaser remote as accurate as possible.
Jein is a well-known model maker who worked on many Star Trek projects for Paramount.
After a year of negotiations, Jein agreed to allow his original phaser to be scanned and photographed. The Wand Company team flew to California to get 3-D models, the correct weight, color photos in different lighting scenarios, and extremely accurate dimensions.
All that hard worked helped create a phaser the company says looks “factory fresh.”
But the really difficult part came in programming its electronics. Unlike the Doctor Who sonic screwdriver remote, the phaser remote comes apart. To make it work reliably, each and every piece needs to “talk” to the others without failing.
For example, the team had to make sure the nodule turned smoothly, the lithium rechargeable battery properly took a charge, and the various pieces correctly latched together -- while still being able to function as a remote for up to thirty-six different devices.
“At a price point we want it to be, at $150, each one of those things is a real challenge,” said Barnardo.
But when you get the phaser in your hand it is a real beauty. It feels like you could accompany Captain Kirk on a mission.
The company said the remote is made to last.
“Because it’s made robustly, it’s great as a cosplay item,” said Barnardo. “You wouldn’t have to worry about it falling apart.”
It is scheduled to go on sale from Think Geek in November -- just in time to go under the Christmas tree. For the Wand Company and Barnardo, they would not have it any other way.