Engineering Health: Towards the Tricorder

A woman gazes at her tricorder, decoding the various signs and signals of life.

Detail of the photograph "Tricorder," showing a toy based on a device from the 1960s science fiction TV series “Star Trek” which could detect and diagnose injury and disease. (Original photograph by Trevor H on flickr.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2013



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Course Description

Students will learn to fabricate, remix, and design detection and monitoring devices for health following the core focus of the Tricorder: a portable, handheld diagnostic device which can brings health solutions to consumers at home or in remote parts of the world. Inspired by the Tricorder X-Prize (with a purse of $10 million), students will aim to create specific component technologies that integrate into a comprehensive Tricorder mechanism capable of reading vital signs and specific disease biomarker detection. Component areas will include optical, electric, biochemical, and molecular diagnostics.

Raskar, Ramesh, Jose Gomez-Marquez, and Anna Young. MAS.S63 Engineering Health: Towards the Tricorder, Fall 2013. (MIT OpenCourseWare: Massachusetts Institute of Technology), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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