Canadian Developer Building Open Source Tricorders

We swear we are not making this up. We know, we know, this is April 1st, the worst day of the year to try and persuade you to believe us, but this is the real thing.

A Canadian developer, Dr. Peter Jansen, has been working on making tricorders. Yes, tricorders, as in the fictional devices that Star Trek writers used as convenient foils for moving plots forward for years.

Dr. Jansen has actually already built two tricorders, the Science Tricorder Mark 1 and Mark 2, and he has more coming. He abandoned the Mark 3, but the Mark 4 has been fabbed and is currently undergoing software development.

Dr. Peter Jansen, maker of tricorders, nerd king

Basically, Jansen’s idea is a simple one: use sensors inside a single device that can detect various things around us to help us learn. And he does it using open source hardware.

In the first two tricorders, Jansen used atmospheric, electromagnetic, and spatial sensors in a device with 2.8 screen, and SD card storage. The Mark 1 has Microchip dsPIC processor and used a combination of screen and touchpad, while the Mark 2 sports an Atmel AT91RM9200 chip and an OLED touchscreen instead of the touchpad.

The Mark 4 is an attempt at developing a tricorder that costs less to make and could be mass produced. We’re sure we’re not the only ones who pine for the day when we see a tricroder for sale on Newegg.

Five stars to Dr. Jansen for boldly going where only sci-fi writers have gone before.