Tricorder A Reality In 2010: One Step Towards Star Trek

By Daniel Chubb - Sep 11, 2010

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; 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?

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Also See: Audi’s new Star Trek Into Darkness commercial tie-in

  • SuperSparky

    Well, the Star Trek tri-corder could give you just about any data of whatever it was you pointed it at, from all elements it was made out of, to its temperature and all the way to its radioactive decay. It could also be pointed at a lifeform and give an internal image and scan, as well as inform of all chemicals and minerals whether good or bad. Heck, it even reported on heart rate, respiration, brain waves and perspiration as well as the component gases emitted from the life form, be it pheromones or respiratory.

    No, I think there's a long way to go before a real device can perform like the fantasy device. It would revolutionize geology and medicine, as well as cosmology (think about it). This new device is a step in the right direction, but there's a long way to go.