Most Sci-Fi fans know just what a Tricorder is, although it has always been a fictional gadget in the Star Trek universe – TV series created by Gene Roddenberry – that was dreamed up many years ago.
One of the first attempts to create such a device in the real world was back in 1996, and was by Vital Technologies Corporation. You can see a photo in this article on stim.com; it was called “Star-Trek Tricorder Mark 1”. The device apparently included a “Two-Mode Weather Station” and “Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Meter”. We’re not sure how real the scientific instrument was, but the company went out of business after selling 10,000 units.
If you’re wondering why gadgets could use the Tricorder name, this article on Wikipedia states that there was a clause in Gene Roddenberry’s contract, which meant real tech could be created in the Tricorder name.
The Tricorder is more reality in 2010 that any year before, which is thanks to a gadget created by Purdue researchers. According to CNET, the researchers say this device can “detect trace elements” on an objects surface and “determine the chemical composition”. You can read how the device works in this article on CNET.
Two Indianapolis start-ups have been created to commercialize the gadget. It’s not like the Star Trek Tricorder yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Do you think we will ever see a working REAL Star Trek Tricorder?