Leave it to a NASA scientist to create the first Star Trek Tricorder using a stamp-sized sensor chip, an iPhone and some spiffy programming. What does it do? It can detect killer gases in the air.
While the concept is not new, this prototype is fully working and operational. Created by Jing Li and a team of researches at NASA’s Ames Research centre, Moffett Field, California, the sensor is a multiple-channel silicon-based sensing chip integrated in micro-board with 64 nanosensors.
The low-cost, low-power system can detect minimal concentrations of ammonia, chlorine gas and methane, showing the values in an iPhone application. It can automatically communicate the results with other mobile phones or the Enterprise’s computer using Wi-Fi or 3G, and order massive teleportation evacuations if needed. OK, not true. No teleportation yet, but we are getting there. [NASA]