Everyone who has ever watched an episode of Star Trek or one of the Trek films has probably thought it would be cool to have a tricorder. Even consumer electronics maker Qualcomm wants to bring tricorders to reality. A cognitive science researcher named Dr. Peter Jensen has now offered up the schematics to build two of his tricorder designs at no cost.
The cooler of the two designs is the Mark 2 tricorder, and it is crammed with dual OLED touchscreens and uses a clamshell form factor. This particular tricorder runs Debian Linux and uses hardware that you can readily buy at specialty shops. Its CPU is an Atmel AT91RM9200 with an ARM920T 32-bit core. These tricorders don’t measure health stats, so won’t win that massive X Prize purse, but they will totally get you laid at Comic-Con.
The Mark 2 tricorder uses six AAA batteries for power. Inside the case are sensors for measuring temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, magnetic fields, color, ambient light levels, GPS location, and the distance to a surface. It won’t ferret out Klingons or help you figure out what killed that hapless redshirt, but I like it anyway.