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Star Trek franchise element
LCARS-style desktop
First appearanceStar Trek: The Next Generation
Created byMichael Okuda[1]
GenreScience fiction
In-universe information
TypeComputer operating system
An LCARS panel from Star Trek: Voyager, similar to one shown in the third-season episode "Displaced". The colors of the backlit artwork have faded over time; the panel looks more yellow and blue in the episode.

In the Star Trek fictional universe, LCARS (/ˈɛlkɑːrz/; an acronym for Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) is a computer operating system. Within Star Trek chronology, the term was first used in the Star Trek: The Next Generation series.


The LCARS graphical user interface was designed by scenic art supervisor and technical consultant Michael Okuda. The original design concept was influenced by a request from Gene Roddenberry that the instrument panels not have a great deal of activity on them.[2] This minimalized look was designed to give a sense that the technology was much more advanced than in the original Star Trek.[2]

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, many of the buttons were labeled with the initials of members of the production crew and were referred to as "Okudagrams."[1]


Close-up of a PADD, as seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The LCARS interface is often seen used on a PADD (Personal Access Display Device), a hand-held computer.[3]

At seven-inch (180 mm), similarly sized modern tablet computers such as the Nexus 7, Amazon Fire, BlackBerry PlayBook, and iPad Mini have been compared with the PADD.[4][5] Several mobile apps were created which offered an LCARS-style interface.[6][7]


CBS Television Studios claims to hold the copyright on LCARS. Google was sent a DMCA letter to remove the Android app called Tricorder since its use of the LCARS interface was un-licensed. The application was later re-uploaded under a different title, but it was removed again.[8]


  1. ^ a b Sternbach, Rick; Okuda, Michael (1991). Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-70427-3.
  2. ^ a b "Michael Okuda interview". Star Trek: The Magazine. Vol. 1, no. 7. November 1999. p. 22.
  3. ^ Stuart, Rick D.; Terra, John (September 1988). Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual. FASA Corporation. ISBN 1-55560-079-4.
  4. ^ Fung, Brian (26 July 2012). "Make It So: What Star Trek Tells Us About How to Make Tablets". The Atlantic.
  5. ^ Foresman, Chris (September 10, 2016). "How Star Trek artists imagined the iPad… nearly 30 years ago". Ars Technica.
  6. ^ Pascale, Anthony (April 11, 2010). "New 'LCARS' iPad Application Released".
  7. ^ Paul, Ryan (July 16, 2011). "Make It So: Hands-On With Official Star Trek iPad App". Wired.
  8. ^ "Tricorder - Android Projects by Moonblink". Google Project Hosting. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012.

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