The underlying design of the medical tricorder is a standard tricorder - a handheld, multi-functional device that integrates computers, scanning sensors, and data storage. Gathered information is analyzed by an internal computer which displays the results on a small screen built into the tricorder.

The differences between a medical tricorder and the standard tricorder model lie in its dedicated life-sign sensors, medical analysis computer, and library modules.


It also has an optional medical peripheral (MP) device, measuring 8.5 x 3.0 x 3.0 centimeters, which is essentially a clip-on sensor and processing device. It is powered separately and has a total operation time of 18 hours. Housed inside the MP is a removable scanner that supplements the basic sensors by collecting and sending high-resolution readings to the tricorder. Normally, the medical tricorder's internal sensors detect objects directly in their path to produce information on the body's overall processes, including electromagnetic conditions, organ functions, and dangerous organisms. The tricorder can coordinate 86 electromagnetic devices, which are installed in its internal frame, exterior sides, and exterior top. Current medical tricorders are outfitted with 14 nickel carbonitrium crystal wafers, three isolinear optical chips, and an interchangeable library chip. In practical terms, this means a medical tricorder contains medical data for humans and most humanoid types, plus information on 217 DNA-based species of non-humanoids.