Inventor Releases Specs for Star Trek Tricorder

The all-knowing device used in the TV program Star Trek has been brought to real life by cognitive scientist Peter Jansen, who equipped the machine with an impressive array of sensors. 

What's the Latest Development?


Cognitive scientist Dr. Peter Jansen has used his nights and weekends over the last few years to build four different models of Star Trek's tricorder, the sophisticated 24th century mobile device equipped with an impressive range of sensors. Jansen has made the designs of the devices available to the public through non-commercial hardware and software licensing. "The built-in sensors can measure temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, magnetic fields, color, ambient light level, GPS location, and distance to a surface." 

What's the Big Idea?

Jansen's hope is that people will use the open-source technical specifications to improve on the devices and share their designs with the engineering community. Why did Jansen bother? "I think for me, it’s really about curiosity," he said. "And helping to find ways to see and intuitively visualize the world around us, to help share that curiosity, and get folks excited about science." The X Prize foundation has announced a $10 million prize for the first working tricorder that will allow doctors to non-invasively scan their patients' vital signs, blood characteristics and other biomarkers.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less