The Starfleet tricorder was the versatile, portable sensing device developed by Starfleet R&D specifically for use by Federation Starfleet personnel. In service between 2366 and 2372, the Starfleet TR-580 Tricorder VII succeeded the TR-560 Tricorder VI. Retaining the same basic shape as the previous design, the TR-580s also incorporated hand sensors, but this feature was eventually phased out by 2370. TR-580s could be used for a variety of tasks, including recording time trials and playing holographic messages. This model featured a directory structure and built-in universal translator. This tricorder was also configured to perform proximity checks every two minutes and was able to emit a photoplasmic trail to help locate lost crewmembers.

TR-580s were capable of detecting dampening fields and if doors were magnetically sealed. To prevent interference with objects, the TR-580 could be set to perform a passive scan. The model could also be locked into a continuous scan, thereby recording data, even when stowed. Capable of communicating with non-Starfleet computer systems, the tricorder could be linked to other units, acting as a small computer network, easily relaying information to other locations. Sensor emissions from TR-580s could cause unpredictable changes in certain temporal distortions, and sometimes included polaric fields, allowing a user to scan for subspace fractures caused by polaric detonation.

TR-580s were stored in most equipment lockers aboard Federation starships though it was common for personnel to keep them in their quarters. Starfleet sometimes distributed TR-580 model tricorders to Federation allied worlds, including Bajoran personnel on space station Deep Space 9. They could also be used by civilians, and were shipped en masse to areas in need, such as disaster sites. The standard TR-580 could function as a makeshift medical tricorder if necessary, although not all medical personnel were happy to do this.