Tag Archives: technology

Has The Star Trek Tricorder Finally Arrived?

16 Apr
*SQUEEEEE*
OMG OMG OMG OMG
I want it.
I want it now.
Live long and prosper, fellow nerds

By Frank SimonsPosted 2012/04/13 at 4:56 pm EDT

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 13, 2012 (Reuters) — Starships, warp speed, transporters, phasers. Think “Star Trek” technology is only the stuff of fiction? Think again.

Dr. Peter Jansen, a PhD graduate of the Cognitive Science Laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, has developed a scientific measurement device based on the tricorders used by Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy and other space adventurers on the classic TV series that has spawned numerous spin-offs in more than 45 years.

“Star Trek inspired me to be a scientist” said Jansen, who has been formally 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.” The 29-year-old Jansen’s school days spanned the late 1990s when “Star Trek: Voyager” was on the air. It featured his favorite tricorder, a model with screens on top and bottom. The first tricorder appeared on the original show’s initial episode in 1966, when Capt. 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” ever since. But if Jansen, a self-confessed “addicted maker” of things, is successful at developing, testing and bringing his instrument into the public, the tricorder may not be just the stuff of “Star Trek” prop rooms. It may be used for real. Jansen said 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.

 Fascinating, as Spock might say.

Jansen thinks of his tricorder as a “general tool” — a kind of “Swiss Army Knife” — with practical uses in building inspection, for instance, 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 favorite of the “Star Trek” shows, he notes.

NO SCIENCE FICTION

No independent group has yet verified 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 utilize 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 expects to have his latest version, the Mark 4, produced for “about $200.”

Everything you need to build one is online at www.tricorderproject.org, according Jansen. He hopes others will follow his lead.

While it may sound like the stuff of science fiction, Jansen isn’t the only one to take notice of just how useful a real functioning tricorder would be – especially as a medical tool. Telecommunications giant Qualcomm Inc this year launched the “Tricorder X-Prize Contest” with the slogan “Healthcare in the palm of your hand.” Qualcomm hopes to motivate developers with a $10 million prize to make medical tricorders a reality.  Wanda Moebus of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, who is not affiliated with Jansen or Qualcomm, told Reuters the X-Prize “is really cool,” but cautioned that making a real medical tricorder device “would have to be measured on its safety and effect, like all other medical technologies.” Jansen said he has been approached by “a couple of teams” about the X Prize, but added that his prototypes are more for science research than medical tools.

Besides, he said he already is on to his next frontier, making a sort of “replicator,” another “Star Trek” device that will create 3D objects and foods that are dimensional copies of real items. Jansen’s “replicator” is a 3D printer, which in itself is not really new, but the scientist thinks about it in terms reminiscent of “Star Trek’s” famous prologue. It’s “like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Jansen said.

Advertisements

Woah.

30 Mar

Skin Cell Gun Rocks My Damn Socks Off

13 Mar

Watch it. Watch it now! It’s incredible, and will hopefully save countless lives.

Science Quickies: Space Trains and Shiny Dinosaurs, Birth Control Myths and HIV vaccines.

11 Mar

Sweet zombie Jesus, we could be building space trains!!! Why, oh why, do we not have space trains yet? They’re trains that send things into goddamn space!!!

Ancient dinosaurs were not only feathered, but shiny! Pigment-containing organelles show that the Microraptor had black iridescent feathers, much like a crow. It also had four wings, and was about the size of a pigeon. I am in favor of bringing these guys back, as it would make feeding birds in the park a lot more entertaining.

A new study shows that in America’s HIV “hot spots,” African-American women testedt five times higher then the national average. The US hot spots were Atlanta, GA, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Washington D.C., Baltimore, MD, Newark, NJ, and New York City, and the tested age range was from 18 to 44.

In light of the recent contraception funding, Heina of Skepchick wrote a great article outlining 7 common birth control and abortion myths.

Scientists, with their admirable persistence, made a huge step forward in HIV vaccine development. Keep it up, darlings!

Checking into a hospital soon? Make sure you go to one whose infection prevention programs are led by a director who is board certified in infection prevention and control, as such hospitals have lower incidences of MRSA infections. This is one of those studies that seems like a no-brainer and waste of time and resources, but it’s often the very obvious studies that are the most cited; A good reminder that we can’t simply assume things. We must have the evidence to back us, even on the obvious things.