Look, I love the original Star Trek TV series as much as any ardent Trekker. I loved Kirk, and Spock, and Bones, and Scotty’s thick Scottish accent, and Uhura and the cool little gadget she wore that stuck out of her ear, and Sulu and Chekhov. I even liked some of the bad guys, like Kang and the Romulan woman with the bad complexion that Spock seduced in one of the later, forgettable episodes.
But even I would never try to invent a tricorder like the one used on the original series. Of course, as any dedicated fan of the show knows, the tricorder was a device that allowed the crew of the Starship Enterprise to gather enormous amounts of information simply by vaguely waving the tricorder in the general direction of an object or person. In the classic episode City on the Edge of Forever, where Kirk must kill his beloved Edith Keeler, Spock apparently used a tricorder to record millennia of human history being displayed by the time portal that allowed Bones to go back in time and change human history so the Nazis won World War II. (Trust me — this synopsis, while totally accurate, doesn’t do the episode justice. It really is a great episode.)
But I digress. Three ER doctors from Philadelphia, who seized upon the fact that Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy used the tricorder in diagnosing the medical condition of his patients, have invented their own version of the tricorder. Their device monitors vital signs, goes through a series of questions that assist in the diagnosis, and ultimately helps the doctor to come up with a determination of what’s wrong with the patient.
So, these doctors are total Star Trek nerds — a conclusion confirmed by the fact that, as the article linked above shows, they had their picture taken in replicas of the uniforms worn by crew members in the original series. So what? It looks like they’ve been inspired by the show to create a useful diagnostic tool, which is a good thing. No word, however, on whether this tricorder also makes that really cool whirring sound that fans of the show remember so well.
Next up — the transporter!