Real Tricorder: With Scanny Bits (TNG)

goal: build a photo realistic and functional tricorder from tng. this means creating custom PCBs w/ chips, firmware/software, and a chassis.

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I've been working on this for two-ish years now, however it has taken many permutations in that time. although recently my breadth of knowledge, however still small, is finally wide enough to really make the project feasible. This is posted under CC Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC 3.0 US), so feel free to make one for you, just please don't sell it or forget to credit it. :-) many thanks, TG-Techie

(The name was changed upon the architecture change and the restart)

in the detail I will discuss what needs to be done to complete this version of the project. more details to be posted soon.

physical construction:

i have already made a stunt tricorder several years ago, here:,  although it is the most acurate free version I can find online, it's still not as accurate as I know I am able to do. so i have re-cadded and made it in several pieces so as to make it easy to insert pcbs and assemble it with small seems. (hopefully.)

so during my time in eagle cad making the circuit pcbs I cadded the board sizes in tandem with the tricorder chassis.

any questions or want me to elaborate please feel free to comment.

more will be added here later 

quicktime - 26.19 MB - 12/17/2018 at 13:43


JPEG Image - 2.38 MB - 12/17/2018 at 13:43


JPEG Image - 1.88 MB - 12/17/2018 at 13:43


JPEG Image - 1.05 MB - 12/17/2018 at 13:43


JPEG Image - 760.64 kB - 12/17/2018 at 13:43


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  • Example of Project

    TG-Techie03/04/2019 at 15:29 0 comments

    Here is an example video from my twitter feed of the thermal camera and tricorder working:


    TG-Techie03/03/2019 at 21:01 0 comments
  • HUGE Progress! & Even Longer Time No See

    TG-Techie12/17/2018 at 01:51 0 comments


    Long time no chat, how've ya been? 

        Okay I'm gonna dive right in. So as you might know i'm in high school. This year was the first year my school implemented an internship program and I , as I m sure you fellow makers can relate to, immediately miss used it for a my own purposes. So I "interned" and turned my out of school project into an in and out of school project! However, it worked out very well because of my mentor. An ex software engineer turned teacher,  who is my favorite teacher, agreed to be my mentor for the internship. Basically she agreed to help me when I ran into code - research problems, ran into Heisenbugs, or got tangled in ideas. Indeed by drawing from her software dev knowledge and her clairvoyant ;-) insights she was crucial to making the progress I have.  Thank you again, Ms.K,  if you read this.

    so, about that progress: here is a small list of what has been accomplished.

    • Decided on final sensor array
    • Created all but one circuit boards for the project
    • Order all designed boards
    • Orded the 3d-model chassis mentioned before. The new one is more accurate than my prior one on thingiverse. the previous one: 
    • Hand soldered three of the boards (and they worked, after a few tries)
    • Created a gui with menus, lists, pages, and customizable objects, from scratch in circuitpython 
      • (okay this is kinda off topic but: Some else actually was able to use the gui on different hardware! It is open on github, it's called TG-US rather the TG-UserSystem (i don't want to call it an OS because it isn't))

    Okay, now for some not progress:

    • Soldering mpr121 chips has NOT been successful! At all! (WOW are they tiny)
    • The slots for the hinges I cadded in were too small and make the retention plate bulge out
    • Ahhhhhhhh software takes a lot fo brain power, but oh boy is it fun!

    I find that I do best in conversation, please feel free to chat and ask questions. Or if you wanna use the gui message me on discord: @TG-Techie#5402.

    If you have any tips on soldering tiny and thin chips I'd love some help!

    Thank you,


  • Long Time No See

    TG-Techie08/15/2018 at 03:07 0 comments

    Now That the summer is ramping down I have been able to make more progress, here is a list:

    • Restarted 3d-chassis by using imported eagle boards to define cutouts
    • got a metro m4 and restarted software dev (after making a super buggy own version)
    • designed an embeddable pcb made to act like a tiny m4 board so people can add tiny "metro-m4s" to their projects. thus not needing to know how to wire one
    • revamped code structure into :
    • -- staging (talks to hardware)
    • -- middle (setup and define functions)
    • -- surface (turns and actions)
    • -- tg-modules and other custom libraries

    more to come, any and all questions/ suggestions welcome 




    TG-Techie06/03/2018 at 21:34 0 comments

    WHOO! just added priority based threading to the triocrder.

    what does this mean:

    i have made a group of libraries, available  on github *shameless plug* (, that has two classes. the first is a task class. it make an object with a stored method and a stored tuple. when call the .perform() method on a created task it will execute the tuple as the input for the method stored:

    from tg_modules import task
    my_obj = task(print, ("text to be printed"))

    would output:

    text to be printed

    the next class is a thread_list class:

    this class allows you to add tasks with an assigned priority:

    so items with a lower priority number are executed first.

    from tg_modules import thread_list
    my_list = thread_list(length = 3)
    my_list.add_task(print,('world'),priority = 3)
    my_list.add_task(print,('hello'),priority = 1)
    my_list.chug() #this works through all the current tasks

    this would output:


    this is b/c the  print('hello') task has a lower priority number

    have fun:-)

    any questions please ask! (or if messed something up here)

    and have a great day 

  • 052918 - making atsamd51 breakout board design

    TG-Techie05/30/2018 at 02:28 0 comments

    having finally made display library for rgb displays, (i modified this: that supports text, rounded rectangles,  and other small accoutrements to make coding easier, i imported the first sensor library, and ran out of ram. this is a side effect of running circuitpython on the atsamd21g. circuitpython uses alot of ram and the d21 has a max of 32kb.  i've decided to switch to the d51, which is being pioneered by adafruit. it has up to 8 times the ram. 256kb. and since any files being run in cir-py are buffered in ram this will alleviate the the bottle neck(for now).

    currently the metro m4 is out of stock in adafruit. so i whipped up a m4 breakout board during memorial day weekend and ordered the parts. link below. it is as of now untested.

    thanks for reading,

    TG-Techie, Highschooler 


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josh034 wrote 12/01/2019 at 05:21 point

Hello! You have a really incredible looking unit.  I was wondering if you had made any progress since your last update and you came up with the specific sensor types that you did?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Queadlunn wrote 02/08/2019 at 03:46 point

Your project looks great! Much more accurate than my Tricorder build.  Also amazing job on the modeling for chassis as well, would you be willing to share the model?

  Are you sure? yes | no

TG-Techie wrote 02/08/2019 at 03:48 point

Thanks! there are some large problems with my current chassis! but once i work the bugs out i'll make a git repo

  Are you sure? yes | no

TheotherMike wrote 02/08/2019 at 10:53 point

Would be very helpful and gentle!

I have to say this build has Charisma (!) and is way much, much cooler than the ""!

  Are you sure? yes | no

TG-Techie wrote 02/10/2019 at 03:57 point

@TheotherMike  I'm quite flattered. Thank you.       on a separate topic i will be posting a huge update soon 

  Are you sure? yes | no

TG-Techie wrote 12/21/2018 at 03:13 point

@TheotherMike   I have reduced the number of qfn chips i'm soldering. I put flux under to hold them in place like then alight them taking my time. then i put solder onto one pin and then continue down the rest. i then check for bridges and go back with flux and solder and try to wide the solder off the pads that are shorted.     but i'm no expert. just kind tried stuff until it worked. I also design to use as few as possible!  and ones with only two sides are easier 

  Are you sure? yes | no

TG-Techie wrote 12/20/2018 at 14:05 point

@TheotherMike  I'd be glad to answer any hardware / software questions ( I definitely lack documentation .)  yes they are, they use the mpr121, this on a custom pcb,  and i cadded that case and ordered it from scultpeo in polished alumide

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TG-Techie wrote 12/20/2018 at 14:10 point

and thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no

TheotherMike wrote 12/20/2018 at 19:07 point

Thank YOU for showing your project! :-) I would be very happy to see more of your results and maybe you don´t mind improving documentation (also the hinge design etc.).. ;-)

How do you solder the QFN-Chips? I had some good success using a solder paste stencil and a hotplate. 

Kind regards, Mike

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TheotherMike wrote 12/19/2018 at 19:27 point

Amazing ! I still do not understand detailed concept and hardware/software setup etc. but it looks absolutely lovely! Those pcb´s are capacitive buttons? Where did you print the case?

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