Forgive us if we seem to have a science fiction theme going this morning, but we couldn’t pass this up. The latest betas of Apple’s iOS and OS X operating systems include an emoji based on the “Live Long and Prosper” salute of the beloved Spock character from the original Star Trek television series.
Leonard Nimoy, the actor who portrayed Spock on TV and films for decades, passed away on Feb. 27. But his salute, which he adapted from his orthodox Jewish heritage, will live on in digital form.
The Unicode Consortium, the group that oversees the text coding standard for computers, approved the salute as part of the latest batch of characters it added in 2014. Individual technology companies are allowed to add the new characters to their emojis as they see fit.
Quartz confirmed the Vulcan salute emoji is a part of the most recent beta of OS X.
Quartz has reached out to Apple to confirm if the salute will be included in the release version of iOS and OS X, but has received no reply.
In his memoirs, I am Spock, Nimoy discussed the gesture:
“For what would soon become known as the Vulcan salute, I borrowed a hand symbol from Orthodox Judaism. During the High Holiday services, the Kohanim (who are the priests) bless those in attendance. As they do, they extend the palms of both hands over the congregation, with thumbs outstretched and the middle and ring fingers parted so that each hand forms two vees. This gesture symbolizes the Hebrew letter shin, the first letter in the word Shaddai, `Lord.’ … So it was that, when I searched my imagination for an appropriate gesture to represent the peace-loving Vulcans, the Kohanim’s symbol of blessing came to mind.”