Trope-a-Day: Operator Incompatibility

Operator Incompatibility: This does happen a fair bit, given the sheer number of species and clades in the setting, but less than you might think.  After all, given the potential markets, there are entire professions which exist purely in order to work out ways to overcome this sort of user interface problem – or, at the very least, make it easy to reconfigure the user interface, dynamically if possible, for users with alternative senses and/or manipulators. (And enough devices are network-controlled these days that it can often be cured with no more than a software patch.)

Trope-a-Day: Space is Noisy

Space is Noisy: Averted, naturally – there’s no air in space, ergo no sound; the only way to communicate out there without some sort of communication system is writing, mime or pressing-together of helmets, etc., etc.

(It’s worth noting, of course, that this doesn’t apply inside starships, because all that machinery makes noise, and with no large spaces to dissipate in, it could get very loud and echo-y.  The cork bricks in the machinery spaces and the thick shag-pile carpeting really are quite essential components, hearing-protection-wise.)

Somewhat subverted in well-designed ships, at least on the bridge, CIC, and other command spaces, in which auralization equipment is used to simulate stock sounds of passing ships, explosions, swirly thing alerts, etc., etc. as part of a good user interface design.  (After all, we have at least five sensory channels, so in as data-rich an environment as that, it would be less than smart to not make use of them; such environments also, for example, use smell as a channel to convey gestalt damage-control information.)  Of course, this equipment is subject to breakdown, doesn’t exist anywhere outside the command spaces (so a space battle will indeed be silent for those not in them, at least until your ship gets hit), and so on and so forth.