Data has his head open several times, for example here:

Data with head open

Given the time of creation of Star Trek - Next Generation series, I don't assume this would be done with CGI, also his head doesn't seem to be thicker due to the second "layer". There are also several occasions, where is Data moving and speaking with his head open, so I would also exclude possibility, that opened head is a replica.

So, I naturally wonder, how is this made?

Thank you, live long and prosper.

  • 4
    In 88, 91, and 92,TNG won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series. They were nominated the other four seasons. I think this is just an outstanding job with makeup and props
    – jejorda2
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 21:20
  • I believe that many of the outer space shots in Star Trek: The Next Generation were entirely CGI. But I agree that this was most likely makeup. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 21:29
  • 3
    @BrettFromLA CGI was used very sparingly in TNG. It wasn't until the later seasons of DS9 and Voyager that that they started doing ships and such with CGI. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 6:33
  • Thank you for your research and answer. I looked into Emmy archives, there is no specification, I found no details, however it seems most reasonable, that the make-up award was for Data. @jejorda2 as you were first, if you post your comment as answer, I'll mark it as correct. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 10:24
  • 2
    The lighting in this picutres sort of hides the "bulge" around the temple, it's more visible here.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


The "appliance" (which you could have bought at auction for $2000) was glued directly onto the actor's head and blended in with makeup. The outer edges of the 'brain' appear to be sprayed a slightly darker colour to give a false impression of greater depth and shadow.

enter image description here

  • Congratulations, this answer is the winner of the monthly answer challenge.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 13:46
  • They glued it to his hair? Doesn't sound comfortable... How did they get it off?
    – komodosp
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 10:28
  • @komodosp I'd guess he had a bald cap over his own hair, with the appliance and wig over that.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Jan 16 at 2:18

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