Star Trek‘s tricorder has mesmerized many a fan. Even those who are not die hard fans will probably admit that having a real-life tricorder would be cool. We do know, however, that tricorders are for real already. Maybe not exactly like the ones in Star Trek, but they’re here.
Ever heard of Dr. Peter Jansen? If you are looking for a role model, you might want to check him out. This guy started his work on tricorders when he was still a graduate student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Back then, he was studying neural computation and cognitive modeling. (Say what?) That was the root of what is now known as The Tricorder Project.
Dr. Jansen has created several tricorders – two of which can be seen on his web site, The Tricorder Project: Mark 1 and Mark 2. The third tricorder, Mark 3, was thrown away at the discretion of Dr. Jansen. The fourth, Mark 4, is in the works.
Mark 1 and Mark 2 are science tricorders, and they basically shows you “what can’t be seen”. Does the idea of seeing oscillating magnetic fields around a power plug excite you? That’s what these babies can do – and a little more. Here’s a short video giving details about The Tricorder Project.
Now here is the cool thing. Dr. Jansen is a true scientist at heart, and it seems that he is all about sharing the knowledge. He has made the software AND blueprints available to the general public. What he wants is for tricorders to be as accessible as possible, and with this act, he might very well achieve that.
The next time you feel an itch to create something tangible (like a tricorder, maybe?), this can be your project!