We heard the X Prize was trying to turn Star Trek into reality, but now a cognitive science researcher has turned the fictional tricorder into an awesome clamshelled-reality. Best of all it runs Linux and you could build one yourself, thanks to Dr. Jansen’s freely-released schematics.
Jansen’s released the plans for two out of four of his tricorder models under the TAPR non-commercial hardware license meaning you can build one right now if you've got the skills. The more sophisticated version, the Mark 2 Tricorder, features the classic clamshell form factor from The Next Generation, complete with two OLED touchscreens, and is powered by six AAA batteries. The thing packs a load of built-in sensors for things like temperature; humidity; atmospheric pressure; magnetic fields; colour; light levels; GPS, and even an ultrasonic distance sensor.
While you’re not going to be diagnosing illnesses or detecting cloaked walls with this thing, you’ll be fully equipped to measure your surroundings once you land on an alien planet – all it needs now is an oxygen meter and you’re golden. Jump on over to the Tricorder Project to find out more and download the schematics; there goes my next four months of weekends. [Tricorder Project via Ars Technica]