Mar 30, Technology/Hi Tech & Innovation
But that’s not the point. The tricorders from Star Trek, were merely a starting point, a platform for jumping off of to help in dreaming up a device that could actually do useful things right here on Earth.
[video is available in the full version of this article (see link below)]
As with most gadgets, Jansen built a test model, which wasn’t very sophisticated, but in making it he learned a lot. The second, the Mark II Tricorder not only looks like the model seen in Star Trek the Next Generation, it’s able to capture and present information about things like temperature, magnetic fields humidity, atmospheric pressure etc. Information is displayed on dual OLEDs. But the real beauty of the device is in how it’s all open source. The operating system (LINUX), the hardware, the code. Everything. It’s all right there on his site. This means that other people are free to make one for themselves, but more importantly, to make hardware and/or software modules for the device to suit their own purposes. Thus, it’s not hard to imagine geologists someday soon standing next to an active volcano pulling out one of these customized tricorders, to measure gases in the air they’re breathing, or to see kids, as Jansen describes, programming their own modules to measure important things in their environment such as the level of lethality from a blast of flatulence offered by a friend. It’s both a useful device and a learning tool for people of all ages.
© 2012 PhysOrg.com
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