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A Starfleet hand scanner

A scanner was a hand-held sensory device. The word "scanner" was a generic term for such technology. Scanners were common during the mid-22nd century and used by a variety of space-faring cultures and institutions such as Starfleet, the Earth Sciences Institute, Ferengi privateers, the Cabal, and the Vulcan High Command.


22nd century

Hand scanner

Earth Starfleet's hand scanner, closed configuration

Internal circuitry of interface and viewer section

Sometimes referred to as a hand scanner, the Starfleet scanner was common during the 2150s. Distinguished by a square-shaped body lined with black grips, this scanner featured a display and interface that could be closed, making the device more compact for storage. (ENT: "Broken Bow")

Capable of performing general sensory functions such as generating floor plan views, and locating bio-signs, these scanners were also equipped with quantum dating technology, yielding at least generally accurate results. (ENT: "Dead Stop", "The Expanse", "Carpenter Street")

Under certain circumstances, the scanner could be converted into a communications device, even transmitting through time, from the 31st to the 22nd century. (ENT: "Shockwave, Part II")

These devices were also capable of interfacing with and potentially overriding vastly different computer systems. Sent back to the 21st century, Starfleet Captain Jonathan Archer successfully tampered with a 2004 ATM and overrode the automatic locking mechanism of a Dodge Ram truck. (ENT: "Carpenter Street")

The hand scanner could also be used to deactivate explosive devices, though with varying results. (ENT: "The Forge")

Despite its versatility, the hand scanner was, at times, somewhat inaccurate. It sometimes could not separate Human (or even humanoid) bio-signs from that of other species. It was also susceptible to certain forms of temporal interference. (ENT: "Doctor's Orders", "Broken Bow")

A hand scanner detecting lifesigns

When it did locate life signs, they were generally displayed as a blinking, red indicator. (ENT: "Carpenter Street")

The internal circuitry of the hand scanner could be accessed by removing both the back panel of the body, and by removing the interface viewer portion. (ENT: "Shockwave, Part II")

In 2153, Sim disassembled a hand scanner in the mess hall aboard Enterprise NX-01. (ENT: "Similitude")

It is not entirely clear, in the final version of the episode, that this is what Sim is doing, though the final draft script of "Similitude" specified that it is.
A small control PADD seen throughout Enterprise in the hands of Lieutenant Reed seems to have been made – at least by the prop makers – from the lower portion of the hand scanner, with added blue LED "blinkies". It can be clearly seen in such episodes as "Dead Stop" and "Regeneration", used to activate Reed's various explosives.
The hand scanner itself was among several all-new props made for the premiere of Enterprise, designed with a built-in pop-up function and blue LED "display". According to one Star Trek prop website, of four working scanners that were built for the series, only one survived until the end of season four. [1]

Medical scanner

A medical scanner

Phlox using a medical scanner

Also in stock aboard Starfleet vessels such as the NX-class Enterprise, a small medical scanner was available during the 2150s.

This palm-sized scanner was distinguished by a large, blue-glowing display screen and interface, with two rows of blue-glowing lights opposite. The medical scanner was able to perform simple diagnostic functions, such as reading vital signs and internal scans. It could also be used much like the Starfleet hand scanner, used to scan a specific area for general bio-signs.

The medical scanner's range was generally close, though it could get accurate scans from the distance of a few feet. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Dear Doctor", "Hatchery")

In 2151, Doctor Phlox used the medical scanner to identify the sickness of the Novan Nadetlung cancer. He was also able to tell that Jamin was a relative of Nadet by using his scanner. (ENT: "Terra Nova")

In 2152, Doctor Phlox used a medical scanner to confirm that the Takret anatomy was immune to radiolytic isotopes. (ENT: "The Catwalk")

In the Enterprise season three episode "Similitude", Dr. Phlox refers to an off-screen piece of equipment as a medical tricorder. It's possible that he was talking about the above medical scanner, though it has never been given a specific or identifiable name.

Heavy scanner

A heavy scanner used during an EVA

Larger in size than either the hand or medical scanners, a heavy-duty model was also available aboard Earth starships during the 2150s.

Characterized by a thick, rectangular body held horizontally, this scanner also featured a metallic handle to the left of a rectangular display screen and control buttons. It could be used to view graphic representations of the inside of devices such as a Romulan mine that struck the NX-01 in 2152. (ENT: "Minefield")

Appearing only once during the run of Enterprise, it is not clear if this scanner had other functions or whether its role was specifically intended for EVA as depicted in the episode. In the episode's final draft script, it was referred to as merely a "large hand scanner". It was clearly constructed from an actual plasma screen monitor, about the same size as those mounted on the NX-01's command chair.

23rd century

Heavy scanner

Scott using scanning device to detect ore contamination

Another version of a heavy scanning device was a large hand-held device, used for quick scans, was trigger activated device had a defined white sensor cap, red barrel, and dark grey read with display and adjustment knobs.

Montgomery Scott kept such a device in the transporter room of the USS Enterprise during the 2260s. He used it on Fisher to determine the properties of an unknown soft ores found on his uniform. With the device, he was able to determine that the ore had magnetic properties recommended that the uniform be decontaminated. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

This device was an example of one of the many "Feinbergers" used in The Original Series, more specifically, a modified modern device, in this case a "Nuclear-Chicago Model 2586 "Cutie Pie" radiation detector" [2], used in futuristic context.
In the final draft of "The Enemy Within", it was described simply as "a scanning device" and "scanner".
This device also appeared in "The Naked Time", "The Doomsday Machine", and "Obsession".

Earth Sciences Institute


An ESI scanner

Available to members of the Earth Sciences Institute, including researchers of the A-6 excavation team during the 2150s, was a small, angular scanner. Dominated by a large, rectangular, green-glowing display screen, this scanner included a long, irregularly shaped input area with a number of button controls.

The device could be used to identify technology buried beneath snow and could differentiate organic matter from inorganic matter. Researcher Rooney successfully identified a warp coil buried in a debris field at the Arctic Circle with the scanner, though the object was actually a Borg transwarp coil. (ENT: "Regeneration")

The generic scanner used by the A-6 excavation team was a reuse of the mold of the Cardassian PADD from TNG and DS9, with a large, now square, lighted display screen. It appeared again in the second season of Enterprise, repainted and in the hands of Klingons in "Bounty".

Medical scanner

An ESI medical scanner

Also utilized by the ESI and A-6 excavation team was a large, oval-shaped device used for medical scans.

Distinguished by a small, circular readout and several circular buttons lining the periphery of the device, this scanner could detect, among other things, changes in bio-functions.

The medical scanner used by researcher Moninger to scan the Borg "corpses" was a redress of Daniels' Temporal Observatory device from "Cold Front" and was one of the most distinct scanners portrayed on Enterprise.
Listed as "Bio-molecular PADD", this scanner was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [3]


An Andorian scanner

The Andorian scanner was utilized by the Andorians in the 22nd century.

A table-top piece of equipment featured a large display and a small section of buttons. In June of 2151, an Andorian commando of the Andorian Imperial Guard, led by Commander Thy'lek Shran, used such a scanner to locate the secret listening post of the Vulcans at the monastery at P'Jem. Keval, who operated the scanner, informed Shran about three new Human life signs suddenly appearing near the atrium. (ENT: "The Andorian Incident")

The prop Andorian scanner

The prop was identified as "Andorian scanner" in the props section of the call sheet. Captain Archer described it as a "scanning console" in the episode.
The item, which featured backlit display screen graphics designed by Geoffrey Mandel based on crop circle designs, was later sold at the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection at Christie's. [4]


A Ferengi scanner

A small, brown, angular scanning device was utilized by citizens of the Ferengi Alliance or Ferengi privateers as early as 2151.

Characterized by a large, green, illuminated interface and display, this Ferengi scanner was capable of scanning through bulkheads and was key in the search for loot. (ENT: "Acquisition")

The Ferengi scanning device seen in only the aforementioned episode was a reuse of the Ferengi PADD from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Unlike the PADD, however, the scanner featured electronics to illuminate the display screen.


A Hirogen scanner

A small, metallic-orange device was used as a scanner by the Hirogen.

In 2374, the Alpha-Hirogen Idrin used this scanner on Seven of Nine to conclude about her verly long intestines. (VOY: "Hunters")

The device was identified as "Hirogen scanner" on the call sheet of the episode.


A Malurian scanner

The Malurian scanner had a metallic ring surrounding an inner Malurian control surface, with green and yellow blinking lights on the outer ring. It could be used to scan DNA and to signal for a beam-up to a Malurian vessel. (ENT: "Civilization")

The call sheet is listing this device simply as "alien scanner" in the props requirement section.


The Osaarian scanner was a somewhat bulky device with a blue-colored screen on top. In 2153, Orgoth lifted one of these scanners onto a side station in Enterprise's engineering and tried to use it in an attempt to download Enterprise's database. (ENT: "Anomaly (ENT)")

This device is not identified on screen. However, it was referred to as "a hand-held scanning device" and an "alien scanner" in the final draft script of "Anomaly". A close-up showing the screen of this scanner was also scripted to appear, though is not included in the final edit of the episode.

Suliban Cabal

A Suliban scanner

Also similar in design and shape to the Vulcan scanner, the hand-held sensing device utilized by members of the Cabal featured a rounded interface area, with an extended handle. Mottled-brown in color, this scanner also featured a purple readout.

Presumably along with a handful of other functions, the Suliban scanner was capable of locating an individual's distinct bio-signs and could detect temporal signatures. (ENT: "Shockwave, Part II")

Appearing only in "Shockwave, Part II", the Suliban scanner was likely created from the same mold as T'Pol's scanner, with an extended handle and a new paint scheme that looked more Suliban.


A mid-23rd century Tellarite bounty hunter called Tevrin Krit used a scanner in his work. ST: "The Escape Artist")

Vulcan High Command

20th century

Used by officers in service of the Vulcan High Command as early as 1957, the standard scanner used by Vulcans was a chrome-colored, dome-shaped device with a handle.

The device featured a purple-colored, lighted display screen and could be used to scan for life signs. (ENT: "Carbon Creek")

22nd century

A 22nd century Vulcan scanner

Standard scanner

Similar in shape and design as its 20th century counterpart, the scanner used by the Vulcans during the 2150s was also a dome-shaped sensor, with a triangular handle. This device, however, was distinguished by a silver-colored readout portion and a blue handle, with black grips. The viewer itself displayed readings in Vulcan script with a generally purple-color glow. The grip featured an array of button controls. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Terra Nova", "Civilization", "Fortunate Son")

This scanner featured an imaging sensor. (ENT: "The Andorian Incident")

The Vulcan scanner possessed a maximum scanning radius of three kilometers and performed the same general function as the Earth Starfleet hand scanner. Vulcan sensors, however, were commonly known to be superior during that time. (ENT: "Carpenter Street", "Broken Bow")

Medical scanner

As early as 2153, Vulcans doctors in the service of the High Command were equipped with distinct medical scanners.

Featuring a similarly dome-shaped readout section, this scanner also featured a dome-shaped lower, control portion. It was also distinguished by yellow indicator lights on each side of the display screen.

It was used to scan for certain types of radiation and could, possibly, perform detailed brain scans. (ENT: "The Expanse")


A dark-colored type of Xindi scanner was used on a Xindi-Arboreal colony during the 22nd century.

In 2153, Xindi-Arboreal technician Gralik Durr used a Xindi scanner to determine that a particular fragment of metallic debris was from the Xindi probe. (ENT: "The Shipment")

A "small Mazarite scanner" was scripted to appear in ENT: "Fallen Hero", though no device fitting this description appears in that episode.

Scanner on Rigel X

One type of scanner was used by the leader of a gang of aliens on Rigel X, upon examining a fake Tenebian amethyst that Shran and T'Pol had brought him in an effort to convince the aliens it was a real Tenebian amethyst. This alien scanner was a relatively narrow device and had a green light at its scanning head. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")

See also