If you are a Trekkie and always wanted a Tricorder, then you are in luck. The open-source Linux powered gadget designed by Dr. Peter Jansen for “The Tricorder Project” measures the environment, such as magnetic fields, ambient temperature, humidity and GPS location.
More than just showing it off, Jansen has full specs and schematics on how to build your own of either his first model “The Tricorder Mark 1” or his current project “The Tricorder Mark 2“.
The Mark 2 runs Debian Linux and fits into a clam shell form factor with a pair of OLED touchscreen displays and is only powered by six AAA batteries. Full specs are listed below.
Processor: Atmel AT91RM9200 (ARM920T 32-bit RISC core / 180MHz)
Displays: Dual 2.8″ Organic LED displays, 320×240 resolution, 16-bit colour depth
Display Controller: Integrated Epson S6E63D6
Input: Dual resistive touchscreens (one on each Organic LED display)
Memory: 32MB SDRAM
Flash: Atmel AT45DB642D 8MB Dataflash for boot
SD Card socket: Micro SD socket, stores Linux OS and filesystem
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (1000mAh)
Ports: USB device (serial console), USB Host (for connecting memory sticks, WiFi, etc.), External Power Adapter
Sensor Board Processor: Microchip dsPIC33FJ64GP706 ( 16-bit / 40MIPS / 16k RAM / 64K FLASH )
Sensor Expansion: Sensor board and motherboard are interconnected through a single flat flex cable (FFC), making it physically easy to upgrade. The sensor board contains a co-processor to handle low-level sensor communication, and a predefined protocol for all sensor communication, easing future sensor board development.
Jansen’s goal is to essentially have kids or anyone else use it as a tool to turn every day curiosities into learning experiences.
“The idea is that by turning a walk home through the park into a nature walk, that everyday experiences will become opportunities for learning. My hope is that kids will use that to develop this intuitive understanding and deep conceptual level fluency with the science of the everyday world,” Jansen said.
Jansen also said he is interested in working on a medical tricorder for the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize which is a $10 million contest to develop a handheld device that monitors and diagnoses health conditions.
If you are interested in building your own and would like more information, visit www.tricorderproject.org