Tricorder update #19 – Status screens – Tricorder and the Starship Enterprise

(This article was first emailed on August 16th, 2023 to fans who had registered an interest in finding out more about our Tricorder.)

Graphically, very little was ever shown on the screen of the tricorder, so with the exception of a couple of screens, everything we have put together to display on this tricorder’s screen is a blend of our imagination and the stylistic cues seen in the various The Original Series’ Enterprise systems and displays.

As the tricorder was an integral component of away-party equipment, we surmised that information about the status of the Enterprise itself would have been certainly amongst one of the most useful things a tricorder user would want to know. After all, a serious piece of tech such as the tricorder should not only be able to let its user know about the status of its own internal systems, but also the larger systems of the most important life-preserving piece of kit protecting every member of the crew from the cold vacuum of space… The Starship Enterprise.

Due to their importance, the status screens are accessed directly from the home screen by jogging the centre button to highlight the STATUS box and clicking it to select that function. Initially, the tricorder presents its own status, reporting battery charge level, chip core temperature, which disc is inserted in position #1, how much audio recording space remains available (for personal logs), if the sensors are all functioning as expected and the current stardate.

Selecting the STATUS from the home screen function initially shows the tricorder status.

Clicking the left hand button (SHIP) shows the Enterprise status screen. Eighty percent of the time no events will be reported as all the ship’s systems ordinarily function as expected.

From the tricorder status screen, clicking the left-hand button will take you to the SHIP status screen. An outline separates the ship into 22 main functional areas that show the user the current operational health of the ship at a glance. While the tricorder status reporting is driven by real world system function, the ship’s system status event reporting is generated dynamically by the tricorder’s software. Obviously, for the majority of the time the ship will be functioning correctly and so most of the time there will be nothing to report. Occasionally however, one of the ship’s critical systems will become degraded and either require time for self-repair or the skills of an Engineering party to fix it.

Using a weighted random event generator, occasionally when the SHIP status is viewed an issue will be reported that will require some time to resolve.

Affected parts of the ship are illuminated and three bar graphics show the state of the most important ship systems, dilithium crystals, shields, and the integrity of its hull. A text box describes the nature of the issue in a brief message of 140 characters or less.

For our Enterprise event status engine, the status fault alerts, the illuminated alert areas, and the supporting text are served up as the result of an event-weighted random-number-generator, where each event (including a null event where everything is working as it should) occurs only a certain percentage of the time. Favourite events from known episodes but also other imagined simple or complex event episodes are gathered together in a database and served up in a dynamic way each time a user accesses the Enterprise status screen. The time taken to fix each fault is also logged in real-time and no new faults will occur until the event described has been cleared down.



Coming next time

Mechanical fit and finish

Fans who register with us will be the first to read our news and the progress of this exciting Tricorder development and, later, where and when to purchase it. You can catch up with the story so far here on this blog, but if you haven’t already done so, why not register your interest in the Tricorder – you’ll then receive a personalised registration certificate and early access to these updates (before we publish them on our website).

25 thoughts on “Tricorder update #19 – Status screens – Tricorder and the Starship Enterprise

  1. Dean Rubio

    I love to be one of the 1st to purchase your product and it would be part of my collection to go with my phaser and communicator. I so excited you guys ROCK!!

  2. Louis LaSalle

    It’s previously been covered that there will not be a hand scanner included (totally understandable). But I hope that one of the displays will be the medical biobed display. Beyond those involving Edith Keeler, the medical display is one of the very few canonical TOS tricorder displays. As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles that would created interface complications; it just needs to display with the readings fluctuating, and maybe the heart/respiration feedback sounds if you want to get fancy.

      1. Peter Briggs

        That never even occurred to me, but how cool would a sound-chipped hypospray be? (Maybe with an option for different noises for creatures, registering discomfort after you’ve just injected them!)

    1. Peter Briggs

      As I understand it, there has to be some practical use to justify selling these as Not-Replicas.

      So, you put a sensor array on the bottom of the scanner. Same type as, say, on the underside of the Apple watch. I guess with the extra space in the scanner body, you could afford cheaper and less compact/sophisticated components. You do what McCoy does: put the scanner on somebody’s arm (okay, McCoy often holds his up in the air, but work with me here!), and the Apple Watch sensor read the bio details, and the scanner sends the health readings to the Tricorder via Bluetooth. Result: actual medical readings from the scanner. (And I guess it’s so crazy, it could be done now easily – whoever thought watching it in 1968 we could have that for real!)

    2. Cary L. Brown

      No doubt there will be an uptick in “fan made” sensors and other “innards” once this ships.

      And that’s fine by me. The trick “Wand” is pursuing here is “creating functional and useful items which look like and largely behave like classic Trek (or other) props.”

      Including a hand scanner would add a lot of cost to this, and provide minimal added functionality, as far as I’m concerned. The vast majorityh of the time we see tricorders, except for McCoy’s, no hand-scanner is in use. And those used, apart from McCoy’s, were both non-functional and somewhat inconsistent. (the little tube with four buttons on the side was the most common.)

      I suspect that Wand has an “agenda” here, though, and I’d encourage them if they did. They can sell this… a “science tricorder”… with the basic “normal” functionalities. This is SPOCK’S tricorder, essentially.

      But, if it sells well (and I suspect it will), it would be pretty straightforward for them to produce another iteration, sharing many of the same parts but with different programming and accessories.

      I’d rather get a good “Science tricorder” now, and maybe get another one… a “medical tricorder”… in a year or so.

      Apart from those two main configurations, we also have the “psychotricorder” (and that would be pretty logical to merge into the medical tricorder release, I think) and the “geological tricorder” (which, while interesting, would be largely wasted, as it has little actual functionality that most of us would be interested in, and loses the “disks” feature in lieu of a blank flashing panel.)

      I can easily see “Wand” making science and medical variations, however. The majority of the built-in-hardware is the same in both cases, but the programming would be almost entirely different. And in THAT case, yeah, I can see it shipping with a hand-scanner.

      The disks would be a lot different. Maybe a disk for each species or biome? A disk with a lot of info on Vulcan physiology, another on human physiology, another on Klingon, etc. No “ships logs” (replaced with “medical logs”) and a much different “ship’s status” screen.

      Stuff we might see could include Gary Mitchell’s and Elizabeth Dehner’s bio screens, as well as that on Anton Karidian… just for a couple of examples. “Personnel records” would make sense for a chief medical officer’s tricorder, after all.

      The idea of a functional sensor built to look like a Trek sensor is… intriguing, but likely impractical. Sure, you could check pulse and blood oxygen levels by pressing it against the inside of the wrist, but that’s not how things were done in Trek. I’d prefer a “just for show” sensor, which just made sound and spun, personally. But that’s just me.

  3. Matthew Getz

    It would be nice if there was a display for planetary displays, atmosphere, breathable or non breathable, etc.,

  4. Aaron Piegare

    Another Ship’s Status scenario I thought of later would be if the saucer section has separated from the secondary hull.

  5. Joe Lawry

    Although the name “dilithium” sounds like two atoms of lithium, in the world of Star Trek, dilithium is actually the name of an element, which according to a periodic table seen on TNG, has the symbol Dt. So really it should say “Dt CRYSTALS.”

    1. Chris Barnardo Post author

      Joe, good point, and yes we are looking at the description of the this line to make sure it is correct. Dt Crystals would certainly be more correct from an in-universe perspective, although I think that that description might have come from TNG, which would put it in the future from this Tricorder’s point of view

      1. Cary L. Brown

        Ah, the joys of “hard-wiring” fictional “science.”

        I think it would be best to avoid the confusion by just writing out “dilithium.” Writing it as you wrote it on the status screen is technically incorrect (aka “anti-science” in a real sense… and while much “science fiction” violates well-understood reality, Trek… classic Trek, anyway… seldom did so.)

        On the other hand, the “Dt” nomenclature will prove confusing to the vast majority of people who’ll see that screen. I’m a massive Trek fan, and I had no idea about TNG having used that callout for this element, frankly. And if I don’t recognize it, I have to assume most end-users wouldn’t either.

        So, play it safe. Write out Dilithium. It might require some tweaking of the screen layout, but it’ll make life easier for everyone in the long-run.

        By the way, my name seems to keep falling off of the “subscription list.” This is the third of your updates I haven’t received via email. Each time I’ve “re-signed up” and gotten the next one, then the one after that failed to arrive. So, either someone there is deleting my name from the list (improbable, certainly, but not “impossible” per-se) or there’s a problem with your sign-up database.

        I suspect it’s the latter, and has to do with the nature of Spectrum’s (formerly Time Warner’s) email address structure. I won’t give out my real email “in the clear” here, but the general format that TW/Spectrum uses is “” For instance, if you lived in Austin, TX, that would be “”

        Lots of “auto-scrubbing” programs, used to remove “bad emails,” don’t recognize this structure as legitimate, and I suspect that’s what’s happening here. But it’s not a “typo” despite many contracted programmers assuming it “has to be a typo” and flagging emails using this structure.

        Spectrum is one of the biggest internet service providers in the USA, so if you’re “filtering out” emails using that structure, you’re “filtering out” a lot of your signups.

        Just something you guys ought to look into. From my OWN perspective, it’s just frustrating to sign up for this, expecting to get the email news postings on this, and then repeatedly fail to receive it.

        1. Cary L. Brown

          EDIT TO ABOVE: I’d suggest replacing “Di2 Crystals” with just “Dilithium.” Fans will know what you’re referring to (as would Scotty).

  6. Matt Sheets

    Man, very few comments here. It’s been so long I hope people haven’t lost interest. I agree on the medical readouts.

    1. JiminSTLouis

      There’s a lot of interest over at the Replica Prop Forum. It seems not many people come over to the blog.

      We’re all looking forward to the next update TWC!

  7. eric kralicek

    Love the detail and finetuning your team is putting into this. It looks like it will take me some time to go through everything you have engineered. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get my hands on one by Christmas.

  8. Rob Schofield

    Each time a blog episode for the Tricorder drops into my inbox, I instantly get “jumpy-up-and-down” excited. Takes me back to that 10-year-old me, looking through the window of our local newsagent at the newest Dinky or Corgi release.

    And, similar to those far-off days of excitement, I repeatedly keep looking at my pocket money savings box to see how much I have managed to save up for the glorious day when I could walk into the shop with a box of half-crowns (showing my age, here) and point at the one I wanted.

    Dear oh dearie me, I’ve been waiting for this since 1968. I can’t wait {8^D


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click to access the login or register cheese