NASA Gas TricorderMany years from now when Tricorders are common place, we just might look back on October 30th 2009 as the birth of the first real tricorder. While the iPhone currently has motion, sound, light, location, radio wave and distance sensors, Jing Li a physical scientist, along with several other researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California developed a working prototype of a harmful gas detector for the iPhone.

The team, working under the Cell-All program in the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, created a small stamp sized detector to be plugged in to an iPhone to “collect, process and transmit sensor data.” The sensor can detect and identify low concentrations of airborne ammonia, chlorine gas and methane.

[Via NASA]