I’m A Tricorder, Not A Doctor, Jim!

Machine learning and automated technologies are poised to disrupt employment in many industries — looking at you autonomous vehicles — and medicine is not immune to this encroachment. The Qualcomm Tricorder competition run by the X-Prize foundation has just wrapped, naming [Final Frontier Medical Devices]’s DxtER the closest thing available to Star Trek’s illustrious medical tricorder which is an oft referenced benchmark for diagnostic automation.

The competition’s objective was for teams to develop a handheld, non-invasive device that could diagnose 12 diseases and an all-clear result in 24 hours or less without any assistance. [Dynamical Biomarkers Group] took second place prize worth $1 million, with [Final Frontier Medical devices] — a company run by two brothers and mostly financed by themselves and their siblings — snagging the top prize of $2.5 million. DxtER comes equipped with a suite of sensors to monitor your vitals and body chemistry, and is actually able to diagnose 34 conditions well in advance of the time limit by monitoring vital signs and comparing them to a wealth of medical databases and encyclopediae. The future, as they say, is now.

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Star Trek Desktop Viewer In The Palm Of Your Hand!

There’s building small computers — like the Raspberry Pi — and then there’s building small computers — like this Desktop Viewer from Star Trek.

[Monta Elkins] is using a Beetle for this project; it’s an Arduino clone, hosting the ATMega32U4 microcontroller, with a unique feature that allows you to twist connecting wires to secure them to the board. Instead, [Elkins] went with the logical choice of soldering them. For a display, he used a SPI serial OLED 128 x 64 monochrome screen which he has cycling through a number of iconic Star Trek TOS symbols and animations. The images were converted into PROGMEM  — which gets loaded into flash memory — before finally being uploaded to the Beetle.

Following some fine 3D print work in ABS plastic which rendered the Desktop Viewer’s case, [Elkins] used acetone to solvent-weld the pieces together and applied a quick coat of paint to finish it off. This little replica would make a great desktop gadget as it requires a micro-USB to power the device.

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Hacking gets a cover story

We do see hacking in mainstream print media from time to time, but you know the movement must be gathering steam when a collection of hacks gets the cover story in a local paper. This week’s issue of The Isthmus – the premiere free newspaper here in Madison, WI – features the local hackerspace and a handful of green hacks.

The man seen riding the pedal-powered plow above is [Kevin Blake], a mechanical engineer for Trek Bicycles which is headquartered in Waterloo, WI. He built the rig with the chassis of a riding lawnmower, adding shovel blades in a V-shape on the front, with cranks and other parts salvaged from bicycles.

The article goes on to feature the local hackerspace, Sector67, by interviewing its founder, [Chris Meyer]. The paper tracked down some other local hackers (and Sector67 members) who have been prototyping wind turbines.

The largest feature in the story goes to [Ben Nelson’s] Geo Metro electric vehicle conversion. The self-employed video producer picked up the diminutive car for about $500 and dropped in a forklift motor which he picked up at a garage sale ($50 + $50 for new brushes makes for a steal at $100). But here’s the best part of the project: after ripping out the unneeded parts for the car he sold them for $550. Anyway, all said and done he’s got about $1300 invested in the project and now has an all-electric car that gets up to 45 mph with a range of twenty miles in between charges. Maybe a big tail cone would help extend that reach.

This is the most interesting stuff we’ve read in the newspaper in years. Maybe you should contact your local journalists for a feature in your area? If they’re not receptive, don’t fret… we’re always looking for great builds to feature here at Hackaday.