The cylindrical pattern enhancers are typically one meter in height from the surface upon which they are resting to their apex. They are composed of four distinct sections, from bottom to top: the trio of legs which are encased within the body of the equipment while not in use, the highly-polished silver-colored main body encasing the primary portion of the actual equipment, the black control cuff upon which controls for specific manipulation of the enhancer are set, and the sensor array contained within the clear, roughly conical top. The casing of the pattern enhancers contains sophisticated and relatively powerful localized sensors as well as powerful and adaptive communication equipment.
Typically, the use of a pattern enhancer is dictated by the inability of a transporter chief to acquire a solid transporter lock on the intended subjects at a location not equipped with equitable transporter technology. This inability can be a result of transporter jamming, natural interference, or any other phenomenon that disrupts normal sensor operation. When unable to achieve this requisite lock, pattern enhancers are used to define, scan, and relay information about a small, localized area through varying types of interference to the recipient transporter system. This highly specified and powerful communication to the transporter system allows it to make a better analytical decision regarding the matter specified for transport as well as location information relative to known markers.
The inclusion of pattern enhancers to an away team's equipment compliment is usually left to the discretion of the team commander. However that decision is influenced, should pattern enhancers come into use, their operating procedure is very standardized to prevent problematic operation while in a chaotic situation. Pattern enhancers can be used either as a group of three or singularly. (VOY: "Dark Frontier") Used as a trio, the enhancers are set up in an equilaterally triangular formation, roughly one to ten meters apart. First the legs are extended by means of a switch or lever on the main body of the device; these allow for steady placement regardless of terrain. Secondly, the conical top and the attached control cuff of the device are rotated approximately 70-90° clockwise; once the top is lit, the enhancer is active. Once activated, all pattern enhancers begin sensor data transmission immediately of whatever is contained within the confines of the trio of deployed enhancers.
Despite their obvious complexity and value, unless the conditions which necessitated the enhancers use in the first place is expected to dissipate or be negated, the enhancers are left upon successful transport.
On previous versions of the Federation pattern enhancer, once all three were activated they would attach between the group a vibrant blue, permeable strand of energy; however by 2375 this feature had been eliminated for reasons unknown.
- Used in conjunction with phase conditioners and phase discriminators, the exact prop and special effects functionality of the pattern enhancers were used to adjust the phase of Picard, Riker, Troi, La Forge, and Crusher in "Time's Arrow, Part II" (TNG).