Amit Singhal has at least two obsessions: search and Star Trek. The 47-year-old joined Google as its 176th employee in 2000 and has been working on search since. He’s also been spreading the gospel of Star Trek, a franchise he’s loved since his time as a boy in the mountainous region of Uttar Pradesh, India. At one point the company’s voice search project was under the codename Majel, a reference to the woman who voiced the Starship Enterprise’s AI computer.
It’s no surprise that Singhal eventually combined his two passions in the form of a prototype wearable modeled after the communicator that Captain Picard and company use to interact with the Enterprise. The Bluetooth-enabled lapel pin, which Google has never before discussed publicly, is equipped with a microphone and is activated with a simple tap. The device, which could output sound through a speaker or accompanying headphones, allows users to talk to Google without having to fish out their cell phones.