We have seen some attempts in the past at creating a Star Trek tricorder, and this time around, what started off as a hobby project of a cognitive science researcher. Dr. Peter Jansen, has ended up as a real world tricorder inspired by Star Trek. This handheld mobile computing device will come with its fair share of sophisticated integrated sensors in order to work flawlessly, and it runs off the Linux operating system. In order to up the realism ante, the device was specially modeled after the distinctive design of the 24th-century tricorder. Work on this particular project started back in 2007, and Jansen has meticulously created complete schematics for two of his four models that are available under the terms of the TAPR non-commercial hardware license. If you need access to the source code, those are also available under the GPL. The Mark 2 tricorder will be powered by Debian Linux on an ARM920T-based Atmel microcontroller, and was specially designed to come in a clamshell form factor, coupled with two OLED resistive touchscreen panels located on the inside. It will require half a dozen AAA batteries to run, where the integrated sensors are able to measure temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, magnetic fields, color, ambient light level, GPS location, and distance to a surface.
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