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This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Prodigy, and thus may contain spoilers.
Isolinear Chips

A pile of isolinear chips

Isolinear chips, known more specifically as isolinear optical chips or isolinear processing chips, and known more informally as optical chips, control chips, or memory chips were an advanced form of computer chip, utilized as an information storage device or for the operational control of various forms of computer technologies. (TNG: "Booby Trap") They could be read with optical chip readers. (TNG: "The Drumhead")

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PADD internal components

A PADD, showing its isolinear chip

Shimoda plays with isolinear chips

Jim Shimoda, with a makeshift tower of isolinear chips

Optical data chips were foreseen as early as the mid-1990s, and were expected to be a future development by Chronowerx Industries by the magazine Technology Future. (VOY: "Future's End")

They eventually replaced the less efficient duotronic enhancers about forty years prior to 2369. (TNG: "Relics") After which time, they were used to enable warp drive in Galaxy-class vessels, store memory in Starfleet PADDs, and were a primary component of Danube-class runabout computers. (TNG: "The Naked Now", "A Fistful of Datas", DS9: "The Jem'Hadar") Isolinear chips were also capable of storing television programs. (VOY: "Memorial")

In 2371, the complete library of the USS Voyager was downloaded onto isolinear chips for trade with the Sikarians and their spatial trajector. (VOY: "Prime Factors")

One of the isolinear chips is numbered "47". The call sheet listed computer chips and microchips in the props section for the day of filming while the shooting schedule (p. 1) listed microchips.

In 2378, following Operation Watson when Voyager could have short periods of live contact with Earth every day, Neelix put 146 sequentially numbered isolinear chips in his hat for the crew to pull – to see in which order they would be able to contact their friends and family. (VOY: "Author, Author")

In 2381, Lieutenant Dirk of the USS Cerritos put the newly promoted Lieutenant jgs Beckett Mariner, Sam Rutherford, and D'Vana Tendi through a hazing ritual in which they had to find a broken isolinear chip by hand while dealing with Lieutenant Commander Andy Billups' pet ferret, Lancelot, among other things. (LD: "In the Cradle of Vexilon")

In 2384, before sacrificing herself to destroy the USS Protostar, Hologram Janeway suggested downloading a copy of her program onto an isolinear chip for her young crew to take with them. However, Hologram Janeway discovered that her program had grown too much to fit on a chip. Instead of revealing the truth, Hologram Janeway downloaded a prerecorded message for the crew onto the chip which they only discovered after the destruction of both the Protostar and Hologram Janeway. (PRO: "Supernova, Part 2") An earlier version of Hologram Janeway from an altered timeline noted the same problem when Chakotay promised to find a way to save her, but Chakotay found a solution by having The Doctor copy Hologram Janeway onto an EMH backup module instead, thus preserving her program. (PRO: "Ouroboros, Part I", "Ouroboros, Part II")

During the USS Voyager-A's mission to the Janeway wormhole, Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway revealed an isolinear chip from the Protostar to the ship's young former crew. Janeway revealed that Starfleet had managed to recover the ship's black box and the chip contained classified security footage of Chakotay launching the Protostar into the past. (PRO: "Into the Breach, Part II")

In 3191, Captain Michael Burnham had to rearrange the isolinear chips of the auxiliary control panel for the High Summit in order to fix it. (DIS: "Whistlespeak")


Background information[]

According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, isolinear chips featured onboard nanotech processors to aid in memory access and had a maximum capacity of 2.15 kiloquads. Though normally easily corrupted, chips could be coated with a layer of clear plastic for protection in environments more hostile than a computer core without affecting read and write capabilities; these strengthened chips were commonly used in tricorders, PADDs, and other handheld devices with isolinear chip drives, and could be handled without using special gloves.

In the first draft script of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "When It Rains...", Chief Miles O'Brien remotely analyzed, from Deep Space 9's infirmary, a particular set of isolinear chips in Starfleet Medical's main computer. This specific group of isolinear chips held the results of a series of scans that Odo had been subjected to while on Earth (in the timeframe of "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost"). As O'Brien began to conduct his analysis on these isolinear chips, he told Doctor Julian Bashir that, if someone had tampered with them, a trace resonance signature would be evident.

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