Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Do you remember McCoy's Medical Tricorder from classic 'Trek? The capability of this device is rapidly approaching reality, via a research team at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Using a cradle and app for the iPhone, they've developed a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. The wedge-shaped cradle contains a series of optical components, similar to those in larger and more expensive laboratory devices. The cradle is able to utilize the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a platform to replace the benchtop equipment. "We’re interested in biodetection that needs to be performed outside of the laboratory," said team leader Brian Cunningham, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering at the U. of I. The team demonstrated sensing of an immune system protein, but the slide could be primed for any type of biological molecule or cell type. The researchers are working to improve the manufacturing process for the iPhone cradle and are working on a cradle for Android phones as well.