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'Star Trek' tricorder comes closer to reality

Wellington, Mon, 16 Apr 2012 ANI

Wellington, Apr 6 (ANI): A Canadian scientist has come up with a scientific measurement device inspired by the tricorders used in Star Trek - the classic TV series that has spawned several spin-offs in over 45 years.

Dr Peter Jansen, a PhD graduate of the Cognitive Science Laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, has been officially working on his tricorder prototypes since 2007, but toying with the idea of making a functioning device since he was 'a kid in high school.'

"Star Trek inspired me to be a scientist," Stuff.co.nz quoted Jansen as saying.

The first tricorder was seen in the original show's initial episode in 1966, when Captain Kirk swaggered toward audiences with his phaser weapon holstered to his side but a tricorder in his hand.

The hand-held devices for data sensing, analysis and recording, have been a part of Star Trek since then.

But if Jansen, a self-confessed "addicted maker" of things, successfully develops, tests and brings his instrument into the public, the tricorder may not be just the thing of Star Trek prop rooms. It may be used for real.

Jansen asserted that his tricorder can take atmospheric measurements, or ambient temperature, pressure or humidity. It can take electromagnetic measurements to test magnetic fields, and it can make spatial measurements of distance, location, or motion.

Jansen considers his tricorder a "general tool" - a kind of "Swiss Army Knife" - with practical uses in building inspection, for example, where it might help taking temperature and humidity readings or be a distance sensor to measure rooms.

It resembles the device carried by countless "Away Team" members in Star Trek - The Next Generation - his favourite of the Star Trek shows, he insisted.

No independent group has yet confirmed his claims for the device which, he said, is one reason for placing his designs on a public website as an "open source" that technology makers can make use of to test and tinker.

Jansen has posted schematics and designs of his first and second prototypes, the Mark 1 and Mark 2, for anyone to see and build. Jansen anticipates having his latest version, the Mark 4, produced for "about 200 dollars."

"Everything you need to build one is on line" at www.tricorderproject.org, insisted Jansen. He hopes that others will follow his lead. (ANI)


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