The device is square, the readout is square, maybe it should be called square-corder.

Did the original tricorder only have 3 functions?

I checked the Memory Alpha entry but it doesn't state the origin of the name or any requirement that it performs 3+ functions.

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    Because Monocorder and Dicorder sound like a disease and death, respectively. – Kalamane Sep 28 '11 at 1:32
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    I always wondered how tri-ox compound worked, since, according to the partially non-canon Starfleet Medical Reference Manual, it's structure was the same as ozone. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Sep 28 '11 at 13:28
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    Quadcorder, on the other hand, sounds like expensive-but-crap hi-fi equipment. – user8719 Aug 6 '14 at 21:37

The name 'tricorder' relates to its three main functions (sensing, computing and recording) and is, according to the Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual, considered quasi-canon but written by Geoffrey Mandel, senior production artist and designer for TNG, DS9 and Voyager, an abbreviation of the device's full name:

"TRI-function reCORDER"

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This is further backed up by the reference on tricorders in the (fully canon) Star Trek TNG Technical Manual

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and a similar description in the Voyager Technical Manual

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and a similar description in the DS9 Technical Manual

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and a similar description in the TNG Writer's Technical Manual

enter image description here

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  • A medical tricorder isn't quite the same as a general tricorder, it's specialized for medical readings. – Kevin Jun 23 '14 at 20:18
  • @Kevin - Not true; oi58.tinypic.com/2mezmzb.jpg – Valorum Jun 23 '14 at 20:25
  • "to which is added a specialized medical peripheral device." And that arguably conflicts with the first text you cite, "similar in configuration to the sciences model..." – Kevin Jun 23 '14 at 20:29
  • @Kevin - There's some contradiction but I suspect that's simply because the one sources is substantially later than the other (by almost 25 years) and superceded by an entirely new series... – Valorum Jun 23 '14 at 20:36

From the Wikipedia entry:

The word "tricorder" is a portmanteau of "tri-" and "recorder", referring to the device's three default scanning functions: GEO (geological), MET (meteorological), and BIO (biological).

I remember reading something similar in one of the early novels, but it was a long time ago.

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    This was also discussed and stated in "The Making of Star Trek," by Stephen E. Whitfield. It was written after the first 2 seasons, while he had access to many of the people involved in Trek. – Tango Sep 28 '11 at 2:41
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    As of 30 seconds ago this answer is out of date. Thanks a lot, Wikipedia! – Jack B Nimble Aug 6 '14 at 21:20
  • Yeah, like you can believe anything in Wikipedia..... wait... – BBlake Aug 7 '14 at 13:20

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