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Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)

The medical tricorder was a specialized version of the standard Starfleet tricorder. It was equipped with sensors and analysis software tailored for medical diagnostic purposes. They were usually the first tool a Starfleet doctor utilized when assessing a patient's condition. Medical tricorders could function aboard ship in sickbay as well as on away missions. (TOS: "The Man Trap")


Medical tricorders used throughout the years have been essentially similar in design to that of the standard tricorder, with the same available features and interface. The major difference is the addition of a deployable hand scanner. (TOS: "The Man Trap"; TNG: "When The Bough Breaks")



A comparative medical scan on Platonius

Medical tricorders could be used to perform quick multivariate analysis, such as the comparison of several different blood samples. (TOS: "Plato's Stepchildren")

Although very accurate on the living, it is taught in the first year of Starfleet Medical School that medical tricorders are not as accurate on the dead. (DS9: "The Passenger") Additionally, a medical tricorder scan was no substitute for a complete autopsy. (TNG: "Man Of The People", "Suspicions")

A medical tricorder could, in certain instances, provide a recommended course of treatment for an individual in hostile terrain. Captain Lisa Cusak followed the advice of her medical tricorder when stranded on a Class L planet to give herself fifteen CCs of tri-ox every four hours to compensate for the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (DS9: "The Sound of Her Voice")


22nd century[]


Medical tricorders were in use aboard the Enterprise NX-01 during the mid-22nd century. In 2153, Doctor Phlox noted that Sim had disassembled Phlox's medical tricorder, when commenting on his aptitude for engineering. (ENT: "Similitude")

23rd century[]

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24th century[]


TR-560 Tricorder VI[]

A TR-560 Medical Tricorder VI

Tricorder-VI-TR-560-Medical (Scanner)

The docked hand scanner

Medical tricorder scanner attachment

The hand scanner in use

The medical tricorder in use by 2364 was essentially similar in design to that of the standard TR-560, a flip-open device with the same available features and interface. The major difference was the addition of a deployable hand scanner tucked into a module at the very top of the tricorder. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "The Naked Now") The scanner could provide detailed scans of an entire individual, or give focus to a single area. (TNG: "When The Bough Breaks")

Genetically-engineered microviruses were not generally detected by a standard medical TR-560 scan. (TNG: "The Vengeance Factor")

Dr. Katherine Pulaski used the hand scanner independent from the tricorder while on an away mission to the Mariposa colony in 2365. (TNG: "Up The Long Ladder")

This version of the tricorder was mostly supplanted by the TR-580 Tricorder VII in late 2366, although at least one unit was used aboard the USS Enterprise during the autopsy of Lieutenant Joshua Kelly in early 2369. (TNG: "Realm Of Fear")

This tricorder was first seen during TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", but first used during TNG: "The Naked Now".

TR-580 Tricorder VII[]
Starfleet TR-580 medical tricorder

Medical tricorder TR-580 in 2369

By late 2366, Starfleet R&D introduced this iteration of the tricorder, which was very similar in design to the previous version, but had a slightly altered color scheme and interface font. (TNG: "Transfigurations") It was not necessary to use the scanner for the TR-580 to function. The scanner could be separated from the tricorder, either to feed data to another source, or not be attached to the tricorder at all. (DS9: "Babel"; VOY: "Time and Again") The medical tricorder was also designed to work closely with surgical support frames attached to biobeds. (TNG: "Identity Crisis")

The medical kit introduced during 2368 had a special slot to hold a medical tricorder, allowing access to the tricorder without opening the case. (TNG: "I Borg")

Medical tricorders also contain reference medical knowledge, including pregnancy delivery. (TNG: "Disaster")

The medical sensor unit was equipped with additional sensor ports. In conjunction with a neural pad, a medical TR-580 could be used to link the nervous system of a healthy individual to that of an injured individual in order to stabilize the injured for transport. Doctor Beverly Crusher used a tricorder to link Geordi La Forge to stabilize the patient known as John Doe. (TNG: "Transfigurations")

The tricorder could be used to record audio. Dr. Crusher used a tricorder to record mysterious voices she heard in her quarters while the Enterprise was trapped in a temporal causality loop in 2368. (TNG: "Cause And Effect")

This version of the medical tricorder was equipped with holographic imaging diodes. When Captain Jean-Luc Picard completed a computer program left behind by the ancient humanoids, the program reconfigured the tricorder to display a holographic message. (TNG: "The Chase")

These tricorder models could be configured to remotely open doors and briefly disrupt a force field. Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard used a medical tricorder for these functions when escaping a Kes holding cell in early 2370. (TNG: "Attached")

Shortly after being activated in 2371, The Doctor requested a tricorder from Harry Kim and expressed irritation when Kim handed him a normal tricorder rather than a medical one. (VOY: "Caretaker")

This version of the medical tricorder was built by Ed Miarecki and introduced during TNG: "Transfigurations". Dr. Crusher was almost always shown holding one during that episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 1st ed., p. 124) It was used throughout the remainder of the series.

The design carried over to the first three seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the first season of Star Trek: Voyager (plus episodes produced for season one and aired during season two), and Star Trek Generations.

The TR-580 was also seen during flashback scenes to Jake Sisko's birth in 2355, while Benjamin Sisko was communicating with the Prophets in DS9: "Emissary".


TR-590 Tricorder X[]
Mark X Medical Tricorder

The Mark X medical tricorder

Introduced along with the Mark X standard tricorder, a medical tricorder variant was in use aboard Federation starships as early as 2372.

Medical tricorder, 2378

TR-590 medical tricorder in 2378

Generally identical to the standard tricorder, the medical featured a detachable hand scanner (as in previous models) that fit into the back of the unit. The indicator lights on the top of the unit varied in color from red to yellow to blue. (Star Trek: First Contact; VOY: "Favorite Son", "Prey"; DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire"

Tricorder imagined by Seven

The model imagined by Seven of Nine

In 2374, Seven of Nine described a medical tricorder she imagined in the following manner: "Duritanium casing. Seven point six centimeters by nine point eight centimeters by three point two centimeters. Alphanumeric display" (VOY: "Retrospect")

Hypochondriac William Telfer obtained a medical tricorder for his own personal use on the USS Voyager, despite the fact that he should not have been in possession of one. (VOY: "Good Shepherd")

The Mark X medical tricorder was first seen in DS9: "The Way of the Warrior" and VOY: "Tattoo" and used for the remainder of both series' runs. It was also seen during Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection.

New tricorder[]
Medical tricorder, 2379

Medical tricorder, 2379

Medical tricorder, 2384

Medical tricorder, 2384

Introduced as late as 2379, yet another iteration of Starfleet tricorder departed from the distinct, flip-open style preceding it.

Distinguished by a slim, PADD-like appearance, the tricorder in use aboard such Starfleet vessels as the Enterprise-E in the late 2370s featured a large touchscreen interface. Silver in color, it was trimmed with black pads at the bottom and sides, with several buttons at the top. These buttons could be covered by a small hinged door, lined with indicator lights. (Star Trek Nemesis)

Alternate timelines[]

23rd century[]

Starfleet medical tricorder, alternate 2258

Tricorder and scanner (above)

In 2258 of the alternate reality, the medical tricorder consisted of a scanning rod and handheld feedback monitor. (Star Trek) The following year, the scanner had been redesigned into a white oval-shape reminiscent of the previous monitor, and could be stored inside a normal tricorder. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

25th century[]

Medical tricoder (2404)

A medical tricorder in 2404

In a timeline erased due to the actions of Admiral Kathryn Janeway, a new version of the medical tricorder was in use by the year 2404.

An extension of the Mark X model, this tricorder featured the familiar hinged cover design, but contained more touch control surfaces in place of toggle switches. It featured a small handheld antenna scanner. (VOY: "Endgame")

See also[]

Background information[]

Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Beverly Crusher, requested a standard set of operating guidelines for props on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In response, illustrator Rick Sternbach developed a tricorder user guide, which was later incorporated into the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual (page 120).


In 1997, Playmates Toys produced a version of the TR-580 as part of their toy line. Several action figures throughout the run of the line were packed with miniature versions of medical tricorders as accessories.

Diamond Select Toys released a TOS edition of the medical tricorder.