Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
PADD is an acronym for Personal Access Display Device, a hand-held computer interface. This is a science fiction “common item”, found in a variety of milieus.
Consisting of a large touchscreen display and minimalistic manual interface or control panel (generally only one or two buttons), the typical PADD is used for a variety of functions.
PADDs come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and orientations. Most of EarthOrigin are rectangular in shape with slightly rounded edges, dominated by a large display screen taking up much of the surface area of the device. PADDs are generally small and light-weight, varying in size, proportion, and even color. (The most common is grey or beige, but anything is possible).
Their main controllers are their prime buttons. These two (sometimes more) small buttons are located adjacent to the display screen (usually below). They are used for power control, intensity of screen, and a few other harware adjustments. With some difficulty, they can be used for data input and manipulation too. Most models use either a stylus or touch data entry for real input. Other, more advanced ones use voice as well. A few retro ones have a trac ball.
Tradition of standards and measurements define the size of PADDs. There are five classic sizes of Terran or Earth Pads. Strangely enough, most cultures use similar sizes, so the sizes of PADDs on other worlds will be about the same (thought their shapes might be round or more angular).
1) Digital Paper
- 8.5 (22cm) by 11 (28cm) by .5" (1.3cm)
- this is perhaps the most common size for work oriented PADDs. Often use a stylus for input.
2) Homebrick “Paper Back Book”
- 4" (11cm) by 7" (19cm) by .5" (1.3cm)
- This is a common personal/ home use PADD size. The thicker size tends to give ia a larger power cell, more memory, and stronger signal strength. Not as convenient as other sizes, but perfect for doing things around the home or somewhere you are going to be for a while.
3) Digi-Tool (PALM)
- 4.5" (12cm) by 3.1" (7.8cm) by 0.4 (1cm)
- The most common size for personal use PADDs. These are the PADDs that people use for their own stuff and interface with their own home systems and gear. This is the tool that you take with you when you are on the go. Every last one tends to have COMM (audio/visual communication) abilities.
4) Hand Toy (PSP sized)
- 2.9" (7.4cm) by 6.7" (17cm) by 0.9" (2.3cm) The screen is 4.4 (11cm) by 2.5 (6.3cm).
- These tend to be media machines that belt out solid sound and gorgeous graphics for entertainment purposes. They also have more bells and whistles attached to them either built in or via plug in accessories. In fact, they tend to have interface ports of all types (given there larger thickness they can fit a variety of them in).
5) Industrial PADD
- A trend, rather than a specific size, as it falls in category one is the Industrial PADDs. They are are larger wedge-shaped devices, operated almost exclusively through the use of a stylus. They are nearly 2" (5cms) thick at the top and 1" (2cms) thick at the base. They are 12" (30cms) long, with a display screen about the size of an archaic piece of paper. Some people call them ECB, Electronic Clipboards. They tend to be used in places where their toughness, greater power life, and stronger signals are required.
The PADD is THE personal tool for data creation, manipulation, monitoring, and transference. In short, everything one would use a computer, hand held digital assistant, a memory stick, a blackberry, a system display, a DVD/CD player, or a piece of paper for in the early 21st century, is in the realm of use for a PADD.
Data entry and transmission is the most common use. You can bring all the information you need with you to any point and access even more if you need. Their screens can support motion video and straight imagery. They have audio abilities as well, so they can replay or record entries. Since most are capable of wireless connections, they can be used to bring “dial/ gauge/ chart displays” with you away from a console. They are handy extensions of computer interfaces.
Some PADDs, often larger in size than most of their counterparts, are used to draw up schematics or to create composite images or artwork.
For an Spacer, the PADD is an indispensable tool. It’s uses include logging manifests, compiling duty rosters or diagnostic reports, entering personal data, and/or accessing library computer systems. While the Envirosuit is the badge of their job, the tool they use most often is really a PADD.
Like so many things, there are various names for them, depending on the vendor or setting.
- PMD Personal Media Displays
- ECB Electronic Clipboards.
- DS Data Slates
- PDA Personal Digital Assistant