Psi-Scan is short for "Psi" and "Scanner", and was useful for scanning and interpreting scientific data from the environment. Several different versions were found aboard Red Dwarf and Starbug, ranging in size and capability.
The version Kryten used more than any other was the 345 model. It had been voted Psi-Scan of the Year Best Budget Model three years running. The 345 out-performed the 346 in eight out of nine bench tests - including atmospheric analysis and life-form detection - and was available at all good retailers. It could occasionally be unreliable due to the use of Martian power packs. (RD: Quarantine)
The 21st century television salesman Mike Mellington thought the Psi-Scan was a ridiculous piece of TV rubbish, something that gave the show Red Dwarf the excuse to give out important plot points without any effort. Kryten used it to hack Mike's e-mail account and discover his secrets. (Back to Earth, Part Two)
- The Psi-Scan served the same purpose as "Tricorder" in the Star Trek universe.
- In Series IV and Series V, the Psi-Scan was a rather flexible "Macguffin" for justifying long tracts of exposition on Kryten's part.
Behind the scenes
- The Psi-Scan props were embossed with with their manufacturer's logo - "Tucker Instruments". This was a reference to the FX designer Mike Tucker. (Series VI Collector's Booklet)