The Tricorder project has received an incredible amount of attention since being launched a few weeks ago. Already we’re on the cusp of 100,000 unique visitors, a quarter million page views, and a positively overwhelming yet still overflowing inbox. It was very much my hope when I created the Tricorder project website that I would get folks excited enough about Science Tricorders that they’d want to build their own, make modifications, and share their experiences with a community of folks broadly interested in science education and learning more about the world around them.
I think all of this has happened, or is happening now. Inexpensive PCB’s usually take a few weeks to get fabricated and shipped, and I just packed up the Tricorder contest prizes this weekend for shipping, so it’s possible that within the next month or so we’ll start seeing Tricorders out in the wild. This is incredibly exciting! To help foster this — encouraging folks interested in building Tricorders, sharing modifications, build experiences, and stories using Tricorders — I think it’s important to help incubate a community. And that starts with an active and healthy forum community.
To do this, I need your help. I’m looking for an experienced forum administrator who wants to help build and shepherd the communication between a community of nerdy Science Tricorder builders. Currently the forum uses phpBB (though I’m very happy to entertain other ideas), and is in an unhappy state from spambots and a very well meaning but inexperienced administrator who accidentally erased parts of the forum attempting to rid it of spam. You are friendly, creative, and excited to volunteer a little of your time for science! 🙂
If you’re interested, please send me a note at peter at tricorderproject.org describing a little bit about yourself, and how you’d help build and incubate an online community of Science Tricorder builders! (Please include “FORUM” in the subject line when e-mailing).
Current.com, part of Al Gore’s Current Media, recently posted an interview with me by Delia the Artist. Delia’s recent interviews include Woodrow Clark II (Nobel Peace Prize Winner) and Kari Byron (Mythbuster), which is unbelievable company to be in.
From the interview:
Dr. Peter Jansen is an eclectic scientist with the heart of a Trekkie. His Tricorder designs, inspired by the science of Star Trek, are open source and available online for anyone to build, experiment with and enhance. Dr. Jansen is also active in the Artificial Intelligence world, where he is taking “baby steps” in creating robots that think for themselves!
Adam Louis: An audio engineer who envisions adding sound sensing capabilities to Tricorders, and using them for home inspection. He’ll be receiving the set of Mark 1 Tricorder boards, as well as an LCD screen, dsPIC microcontroller, display controller, and a Cirque touchpad generously donated to the contest by Cirque!
Amanda M: Who envisions using a Tricorder everywhere from hikes to in the cell biology lab, and would love to build one with her boyfriend. She’ll be receiving a set of unpopulated Mark 2 boards!
Jonathan List: A dad, who wants to build a Tricorder with his son someday. This totally struck a soft spot with me, given that my dad and I used to sit together and build projects when I was little. Jonathan and his son are the winners of the Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit for Arduino, which should get them started sensing their worlds!
Thanks again to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for the next contest!
Wow! There are so many contest entries! It’s nearly midnight, and so after the contest closes I’ll be spending the next day or two reading the entries, and selecting the winners. I can already see that it’s not going to be easy — there are some great entries, and a lot of folks are so excited about Tricorders they wrote novels!
I’m already dreaming up the next contest, and hope to have an announcement for that soon. Stay tuned to this blog (subscribe using the widget on the right side), Facebook, or Twitter for announcements and updates. A hint: I’d like the next contest to involve building things, so warm up your soldering irons.
The folks at Thomson Reuters just published a great article by Frank Simons about the Tricorder project, from a Star Trek perspective. Be sure to check your local newspaper’s entertainment section to see if they’ve picked up the article!
It was really fun getting to interview with Frank about the Tricorder project. He’s a self-professed Trekkie (or, is it Trekker, I can never remember the distinction), and knew every obscure reference that I threw at him. Thanks again for all your hard work and a great article Frank!
While I’m planning to update the blog a couple times a week, this past week has been a touch busy — I gave a talk this past Wednesday on the Tricorder project, and it looks like I’ll be traveling the rest of the week with invitations to talk Tricorder. On Wednesday evening I’ll be on Arizona Horizons on PBS out of Phoenix to talk about Tricorders, then traveling Friday to talk with one of the X PRIZE teams.