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Build Your Own Working Tricorder – Tech Thursday

Lately I’ve been on a Star Trek kick. I’ve been watching some old episodes of Enterprise and The Next Generation. So when I came across a story about a Canadian man building a real working Tricorder, I had to check it out. The really interesting part about it is, he’s doing it open source, so anyone can take his work, and build their own, or improve it.The idea for building this is Peter Jansen’s, while he was a graduate student studying neural computation and cognitive modelling at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He started designing and building these Tricorders in the Spring of 2007. His vision is that they will become a house hold item someday, where a child could pull out one and start investigating on their own about things around them. “It is my deep belief that knowledge brings about positive change. It’s possible that the same instrument that can show a child how much chlorophyll is in a leaf could also show how them much pollution is in the air around us, or given off by one’s car.”

There’s 4 version of Peter’s Tricroder right now, with the plans and parts lists available on the Tricroder Project website. There is also a blog to follow development, as well as community forums for people with more questions or just wanting to add their thoughts and ideas to the project.


Peter has also just launched a contest for people to win, unpopulated circuit boards for a Mark 1 Tricroder. This seems like a really cool project, and I would love to have one of these just for fun and to play around with. And they would make a great gag when someone asks me question, I could say I don’t know but we can find out. Then whip out my Tricorder and try to get answer. The complexity of this project goes a little beyond what I know of electronics from my Ham Radio experience, but the coolness factor makes me wanna “Geek Out”.

$>Live Long and Prosper

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