Friday, November 13, 2009

GO-GO GADGET: NASA Creates First Tricorder

Using an iPhone, some programming, and some sort of sensor chip I know nothing about, NASA scientists have created what could argueably be considered the first “real Tricorder” from Star Trek lore – for lack of a better description.

The device Li developed is about the size of a postage stamp and is designed to be plugged in to an iPhone [and use an application] to collect, process and transmit sensor data. The new device is able to detect and identify low concentrations of airborne ammonia, chlorine gas and methane. The device senses chemicals in the air using a “sample jet” and a multiple-channel silicon-based sensing chip, which consists of 16 nanosensors, and sends detection data to another phone or a computer via telephone communication network or Wi-Fi.

While some robots out there find this to be “Meh.” news, I think it’s pretty cool. Not necessarily because a hand-held device can do this, but because it’s pretty fascinating how real life mimics -or in some cases, surpasses- what is supposed to be “the future” in shows like Star Trek.

Now, I will be REALLY impressed when they come up with a replicator application for my iPhone that will make me a damn sandwich anytime I want one.