PiCorder: Raspberry Pi Stands in for Stone Knives and Bearskins

In a classic episode of Star Trek, Spock attempts to get data from a tricorder while stuck in the 1930s using what he described as “stone knives and bearskins.” In reality, he used vacuum tubes, several large coils, and a Jacob’s ladder. Too bad they weren’t in the year 2017. Then Spock could have done like [Directive0] and used a Raspberry Pi instead. You can see the result in the video below.

The build starts with a Diamond Select Toys model tricorder. The Raspberry Pi, a battery, a TFT screen, and a Pi Sense Hat make up the bulk of the build.

Truthfully, this is one of those projects that isn’t rocket science (or perhaps warp core engineering) electronically. It is just stringing together some off-the-shelf modules with Python code. But the refitting of the toy tricorder is where the real story is and the video shows details of how it all goes together.

We have seen quite a few duplicates of the next generation tricorder. We’ve also seen devices that claim to be tricorders even though they don’t always look like any we’ve ever seen. We live in a world where hoverboards don’t hover and AI assistants aren’t really that smart. So I guess we can overlook that none of these tricorders can really do half of what the ones on Star Trek could do.

23 thoughts on “PiCorder: Raspberry Pi Stands in for Stone Knives and Bearskins

  1. “We live in a world where hoverboards don’t hover and AI assistants aren’t really that smart. ”

    And baby oil doesn’t come from babies. What’s our world coming to?

        1. I’ve always been surprised that KFC doesn’t offer a single chicken finger snack pack. The ads could have Colonel Sanders. He turns to the camera and says, “I’m Colonel Sanders, and I want to give you the finger!”

          1. I guess that’d be better than the Colonel offering us a Chicken Strip, I mean, really, who would want to see a chicken strip except maybe the red vs. blue guys at Rooster Teeth?

  2. Of course I enjoy the Star Trek ambiance and retro (futuro?) stylings. But the truth is that we all already have “Tricorders” and carry them around in our pockets every day. And we use them for Communications, Data Communications, Sensing, Navigation, Scientific and Medical applications, Gaming and much, much more. Of course I’m referring to our “Smartphones” which are every bit the Tricorder envisioned by Gene Roddenberry way back when, just not quite as stylish or hip. Excellent project by the way, and top marks on the video as well. That was extremely well done. Many kudos to you.

  3. Hot Dogs have no dog in them. Far as known. Most people would eat dog rather than hot dog if they knew ingredients. Moon Pies have no moon or butt cheek. Ya …on and on. Tri corder tech is coming along nicely. Proliferation of cheap low power consuming and high processing power micros and Bluetooth/WiFi/other with relatively cheap high res displays on ‘smart’ device pushing along. Need to get cheaper and more ‘swiss army knife’ style sensors with higher resolution/speed. Need more non-contact sensors. Need better software to combine these devices/sensors into more meaningful all purpose device. Trek folks would mention difference in medical and scientific tricorder and different scanning modules respectively which seem to make a high pitch whirring whining noise. Probably from cheap servo motors rotating sensor array Along with a human Z axis movement. Already have tiny LCD oscilloscopes and Data recorders for years now. Already smaller than Trek Devices. I would say more than what original Trek series tricorder and communicator devices services are available. Not half. Excluding some of the more fantistical functions. Cost and all in one packaging missing. Fantasy reality fusion progressing.

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