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Medicine The Military Science

Stanford Creates Tricorder-Like Devices For Detecting Cancer and Explosives (stanford.edu) 34

An anonymous reader writes: A new technology has promise to safely find buried plastic explosives and maybe even spot fast-growing tumors. The technique involves the clever interplay of microwaves and ultrasound to develop a detector like the Star Trek tricorder. The careful manipulation of two scientific principles drives both the military and medical applications of the Stanford work. First, all materials expand and contract when stimulated with electromagnetic energy, such as light or microwaves. Second, this expansion and contraction produces ultrasound waves that travel to the surface and can be detected remotely.

In a potential battlefield application, the microwaves would heat the suspect area, causing the muddy ground to expand and thus squeeze the plastic (abstract). Pulsing the microwaves would generate a series of ultrasound pressure waves that could be detected and interpreted to disclose the presence of buried plastic explosives. Solving the technical challenges of detecting ultrasound after it left the ground gave the Stanford researchers the experience to take aim at their ultimate goal – using the device in medical applications without touching the skin.

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Stanford Creates Tricorder-Like Devices For Detecting Cancer and Explosives

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  • ...also explosive cancers!

  • by labnet ( 457441 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @04:33PM (#50903993)

    This story reminds me of the work of Rife.
    The short story is that Rife invented a hetrodyning optical microscope that mixed UV light incident on the subject of interest,such as cancer cells, where the mixing difference would reproduce visible light but allow the study of cells while still alive. He then used modulated RF sources to find the resonant point of these cancer cells to mechanically destroy them. The conspiracy theory goes that the established medical community destroyed his work/equipment as his results were too effective.

  • It's metastasised.

    • Stage 4 high explosives.... Self solving problem... I'm sorry sir, you have milliseconds to live once this blows up..
  • Because microwaves inducing currents in unknown explosive devices is a wonderful idea?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, yes.
      Why would it not be a good idea?

      If an unknown bomb gets rigged to explode with scanning, all it will do is destroy the immediate area.
      Given that a robot would be doing this anyway, it just means that a robot gets blown to bits.
      That'll be a million dollars plus tip.
      Of course, terrorists would be stupid enough to think this would even matter in the grand scheme of the World Polices funds.

  • You can have my ADE 651 when you pry it from my cold dead exploded hands!
  • So that's how the Tricorder worked. Thank you /., I learn something new every day!

  • Really? A Tricorder "like" device? Isn't an MRI, a CT, Ultrasound and X-ray a Tricorder LIKE device? Heck, add to that EEG and EKG devices, as are metal detectors, video recorders and cell phones.

    So why do we insist on coupling some new reordering of existing technology with the public persona of Star Trek? Easy, it's an attempt to garner PR brownie points by leveraging something that's already popular in some circles. Frankly I'm growing tired of this ploy... Can't we just call them what they are, porta

    • Isn't an MRI, a CT, Ultrasound and X-ray a Tricorder LIKE device?

      Not really. If it's not handheld and portable, it's not tricorder-like.

  • Tricorder-like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @06:32PM (#50904857) Homepage Journal

    I believe the tricorder's main attributes were:
    1) it can scan, analyze, or detect anything
    2) it doesn't exist

    I wonder which of these attributes they implemented?

    "We've been working on this for a little over two years," Khuri-Yakub said. "We're still at an early stage but we're confident that in five to ten to fifteen years, this will become practical and widely available."

  • by khelms ( 772692 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @06:41PM (#50904899)
    Data: Captain, sensors are picking up 14,387,254,183 gnats on the planet's surface. Picard: What about that Romulan warbird that just activated their cloak 100 meters behind us? Data: We are unable to detect them.
  • I am taking a signals class right now, and we are learning about filtering noise.

    This sounds like a way noisy signal. It is super cool that they think they can still gain useful information

  • Ultrasound cannot image easily the inside of the skull: the video showing the proof of concept of the device is just wishful thinking.
    Furthermore the amount of RF-generated heath needed to make the tumor visible would exceed the safety levels of EM exposure for humans.
    Concerning the possibility of detecting buried explosives, I must say that I have more than 20 years of experience in R&D work in related fields, and I would be very surprised to see this gadget to detect anything useful in real ground.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard