Star Trek Captains Go Head to Head in Tricorder Competition

William Shatner and Patrick Stewart are at odds in a competition to fund a tricorder device for a $10 million prize.

April 1, 2013

8 Min Read
Star Trek Captains Go Head to Head in Tricorder Competition

By: Reina V. Slutske

The run for Qualcomm’s Tricorder X prize just took an unusual turn, as two Starship Enterprise captains are now at war to fund the development of a multidiagnostic device in Qualcomm’s X Prize.

William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, who played Capts. James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard, respectively, have put money behind different start-up companies to win the $10 million prize that has been put forth to develop the Star Trek-related device.

“I don’t understand what his problem is,” Shatner says. “After all, it’s pretty clear who’s the superior captain.”

The war between the two captains began when Shatner, who played James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series in the 1960s, put $1 million of his own money towards the development of a tricorder to Baceolus, a mobile device company based out of Chelmsford, MA.

When Stewart, who played Jean-Luc Picard on the franchise’s The Next Generation series, was asked for comment while on the set of his latest movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, he responded by calling Shatner a “pansy,” and began to look for a company to fund. He found Touchstone, an electronics company based out of Gotham, WI, and put forth $1.25 million.

This is a very personal crusade for Shatner. After blasting the Internal Revenue Service for their Star Trek parody using taxpayer dollars, he felt that he had to save the Star Trek brand’s good name from governmental take over.

“After all… I am the captain of the Starship Enterprise,” he continues in a statement. “Do you think Jean-Luc Picard would have the guts to stand up when the need calls for it? I mean, he drinks Earl Grey tea.”

Baceolus president and CEO Nick Trinculo said he was honored by Shatner’s commitment to the cause, but was concerned when the former Priceline spokesperson began to offer him travel deals in addition to his money. However, Shatner added that he has a lot to prove in this contest against Stewart now that his fellow actor has made it into a competition.

While Stewart admires Shatner’s spirit and dedication to the cause, he points to his series’ success as the clear example of the power of the Star Trek franchise, and feels he has no competition.

“And at least my number two was good-looking,” Stewart says. “Have you seen Leonard Nimoy lately? He looks like a prune.”

Touchstone CEO Peter Feste said that he was thrilled by Stewart’s contribution, as well as dazzled by his intelligence, sense of humor, and “incredible” British accent. He added that their mobile device needed the extra monetary help in development, and they were honored by his support, even if it wasn’t under the most desirable circumstances.

“We don’t like being dragged into fights,” he says. “However, we are thrilled by the opportunity to keep developing our tricorder. We think Dr. McCoy would be proud.”

For more information regarding the feud, click here

Reina V. Slutske is the assistant editor and resident drama queen for MD+DI. She loves Shakespeare and adores Star Wars and other sci-fi indulgences. Unsurprisingly, she remains single.

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