tricorder is a portable sensing, computing, and data communications device
developed by Starfleet R&D and issued to starship crew members. It
incorporates miniaturized versions of those scientific instruments found
to be most useful for both shipboard and away missions, and its capabilities
may be augmented with mission-specific peripherals. Its many functions
may be accessed by touch-sensitive controls or, if necessary, voice command.
tricorder measures 8.5 x 12 x 3 cm and masses 353 grams. The case is constructed
of micromilled duranium foam, and is divided into two hinged sections for
compact storage. The control surfaces consist of ruggedized positive-feedback
buttons and a 2.4 x 3.6 cm display screen. While a full personal access
display device-type multilayer control screen would have afforded the user
with a wider range of preferences in organizing commands and visual information,
the simplified button arrangement was chosen for greater ease of use in
the field. The internal electronics, on the other hand, were designed to
provide the greatest number of possible options in managing sensor data,
visual images, and multichannel communications, in all incoming, outgoing,
or recorded modes.
The major electronic
components include the primary power loop, sensor assemblies, parallel
processing block, control and display interface, subspace communication
unit, and multiple memory storage units.
Power is provided
to the total system through a rechargeable sarium crystal rated for eighteen
hours of full instrument activity. True power usage rate and maximum useful
time is, of course, dependent on which subsystems are active, and is continuously
computed for call-up on the display. Typical power usage is 15.48 watts.
The sensor assemblies incorporate a total of 235 mechanical, electromagnetic,
and subspace devices mounted about the internal frame as well as imbedded
in the casing material as conformal instruments. One hundred and fifteen
of these are clustered in the forward end for directional readings, with
a field-of-view (FOV) lower limit of 1/4 degree. The other 120 are omnidirectional
devices, taking measurements of the surrounding space. The deployable hand
sensor incorporates seventeen high-resolution devices for detailed readings
down to an FOV of one minute of arc. Within these FOV limits, both active
and passive scans can provide readings approaching the theoretical limits
of the EM radiation of physical process under study. By combining readings
from different sensors, the tricorder computer processors can synthesize
images and numerical readouts to be acted upon by the crew member.
capabilities of the standard tricorder are distributed throughout the device
as preprocessors attached to the various sensors and twenty-seven polled
main computing segments (PMCS). Each PMCS contains subsections dedicated
to rapid management of the sensor assemblies, prioritizing of processing
tasks, routing of processed data, and management of control and power systems.
The PMCS chips supplied with the TR-580 and TR-595H(P) standard tricorders
are rated at 150 GFP calculations per second.
and display interface (CDI) routes commands from both the panel buttons
and display screen to the PMCS for execution of tricorder functions. Multiple
functions can be run simultaneously, limited only by PMCS speed. In practice,
crew members usually carry out no more than six separate scanning tasks.
functions are carried out by tricorder through the subspace transceiver
assembly (STA). Voice and data are uplink/downlinked along standard communicator
frequencies. Transmission data rates are variable, with a maximum speed
in Emergency Dump Mode of 825 TFP. Communication range is limited to 40,000
km intership, similar to the standard communicator badge.
The data storage
sections of the standard tricorder include fourteen wafers of nickel carbonitrium
crystal for 0.73 kiloquads of interim processor data storage, and three
built-in isolinear optical chips, each with a capacity of 2.06 kiloquads,
for a total of 6.91 kiloquads. The swappable library crystal chips are
each formatted to hold 4.5 kiloquads. In Emergency Dump Mode, all memory
devices are read in sequence and transmitted, including any library chips
in place. In practice, the total time to dump a standard tricorder's memory
to a starship/starbase can be as long as 0.875 seconds.
OF CONTROLS AND INDICATORS
the only visible control is the power switch. It shows a red power-on light
and a green power level indicator. When deployed, all of the available
controls are visible.
* PWR STBY
- Power standby light. If the tricorder is not used for more than ten minutes,
this indicator will illuminate, and the tricorder goes into low-power mode.
Any new touch of any control will bring the device back up to full power.
When the tricorder is stowed but performing ongoing tasks, low-power mode
does not occur.
* F1/F2 - Control
function select switch. Most buttons on the tricorder have more than one
function. This is a convenient toggle for often-repeated function changes
and may be preprogrammed by the individual crew member. The F1/F2 switch
is active during data operations only.
* I and E -
These two controls manage the source of sensory information, either the
tricorder itself (Internal), or remote device (External), or both sources
simultaneously. The remote device can be any sensor platform that uses
the same data collection machine language. The term 'platform' denotes
a vehicle operating on or above another planetary body, including the USS
Enterprise or other spacecraft.
* DISPLAY SCREEN
- This screen is capable of showing any realtime, stored, or computed image.
The display area is similar in construction and function to Starfleet control
panels and display screens, although the layering technique is simplified
and the default image size is naturally smaller. Selected areas of an image
may be enlarged by touch; many other screen functions may be customized
using the standard tricorder's stored setup programs.
* LIBRARY A/B
- The standard tricorder contains a read/write drive to record information
onto small crystal memory chips for later retrieval, or to load previously
recorded information into the tricorder's main memory. Each chip has a
maximum capacity of 4.5 kiloquads.
* ALPHA BETA
DELTA GAMMA - These indicators denote which data recording or retrieval
activity is taking place in the tricorder library section. A more detailed
readout of data operations can be called up on the display screen.
* DEVICE INPUT
- Each of these three keys can be assigned to manage up to nine remote
devices, for a total of twenty-seven different information sources. For
a routine away mission, the default settings on power-up are GEO, MET,
and BIO, covering geological, meteorological, and biological functions.
* COMM TRANSMISSION
- This section controls the transmission of data and images to and from
the tricorder through the STA. ACCEPT toggles the tricorder to accept one-way
transmissions from a designated remote source. POOL allows for networking
of the tricorder and one or more designated remote sources. INTERSHIP sets
up a special tricorder-to-ship data link employing multiple high-capacity
channels. TRICORDER sets up a similar high-capacity link, but to other
tricorders. While all four modes can be active simultaneously, the system
will slow down significantly. In practice, no more than two modes are usually
necessary at one time.
* EMRG - This
is the emergency 'dump everything to the ship' button. It provides for
non-error-checking burst mode data transmission in critical situations.
In practice, this function can be used no more than two times before the
standard tricorder's primary power is exhausted. All sensing tasks are
suspended and power is maximized to the STA.
* IMAGE RECORD
- This section manages single or sequential image files recorded by the
standard tricorder. The control has four divisions: FORWARD, REVERSE, INPUT,
and ERASE. When used in concert with other tricorder functions, relatively
complete documentation of an away mission can be achieved. At standard
imaging resolution, at a normal recording speed of 120 Area View Changes
(AVC)/sec, the tricorder can store a total of 4.5 hours of sequential images.
Higher speeds yield a proportionately lower total recording time.
* LIBRARY B
- Library B is the primary storage area for sequential images, though the
memory configuration may be changed to include other storage areas, depending
on the application. I and E control the image source.
* ID - This
touchpad may be used to personalize a tricorder for default power-up settings,
or as a security device for single-crew member operation.