Tricorder Invented, For Realz

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"Mr. Spock, what is that substance?"
" appears to be a naked photo of the alien from Zentir 16. The one that you promised to show to no one else."
"Not that! The OTHER substance."
"Oh, that's just the STD you left on the picture...and my heart"


Purdue researchers have invented a real-world "tricorder". It utilizes a mass spectrometer to analyze the information received from an ionized water vapor (that contacts any substance under study). Not only does the unit provide results within minutes—it only weighs 20lbs, which should be an attainable lifting goal for most Star Trek fans before the next conference.

Scientists Invent Real-Life Tricorder [via scifi tech]



The clever part is the DESI source. DESI and DART were a big deal at Pittcon 2006 because they don't require sample prep, and as demonstrated by the Mini-10, DESI is highly suitable for portable devices.

That said Sandia National Labs' handheld systems are way more tricordery. And this story is about a week old.