A handheld tricorder is as good a reason as any to start a project. The science-fiction-derived form factor provides an opportunity to work on a lot of different areas of hardware development like portable power, charging, communications between sensor and microcontroller. And of course you need a user interface so that the values being returned will have some meaning for the user.
[Marcus B] has done a great job with all of this in his first version of a medical tricorder. The current design hosts two sensors, one measures skin temperature using infrared, the other is a pulse sensor.
For us it’s not the number of sensors that makes something a “tricorder” but the ability of the device to use those sensors to make a diagnosis (or to give the user enough hints to come to their own conclusion). [Marcus] shares similar views and with that in mind has designed in a real-time clock and an SD card slot. These can be used to log sensor data over time which may then be able to suggest ailments based on a known set of common diagnosis parameters.
Looking at the image above you may be wondering which chip is the microcontroller. This build is actually a shield for an Arduino hiding underneath.
There’s a demonstration video after the break. And if you find this impressive you won’t want to miss the Open Source Science Tricorder which is one of the finalists for the 2014 Hackaday Prize.