Star Trek fans (sorry, I’m not one of ’em) should thank Purdue University researchers for developing a real life tricorder, the famous little device that analyzed and identified unknown substances. The device identifies substances based on their mass with the use of something called an ion tap. After putting the object inside, the device lets an item’s ions out one by one depending on their mass. Yes, I hope you paid attention during chemistry class.
What use does this have on this fine planet? It might be used to determine if a piece of food is contaminated with nasties like salmonella or if a cute little doll is stuffed with cocaine. Airports should take note that, once in mass production, this fancy mass spectrometer will cost only around $2,000. It’s also available in both an eight-pound portable version and a 20-pound stationary unit. Those extra pounds can be attributed to its housing of an onboard Windows computer and a high capacity hard drive.
Did I mention Star Trek is lame? OK.