Yesterday, Micromat announced the upcoming release of TechTool Protogo, a Mac OS X application that turns an old iPod, flash drive or other device into a bootable diagnostic tool containing several Micromat utilities.

It's expected to begin shipping at next week's Macworld Expo and will cost $135. The Protogo software ships on a DVD that includes a configuration app, TechTool Pro Classic (for Mac OS 9.0 systems), TechTool Pro 4.0 (for Mac OS X) and DiskStudio, Micromat's disk configuration software.

With Protogo, you can boot most Macs, diagnose and repair hard drive problems, test major hardware components, find viruses and system conflicts on 'Classic' Mac OS systems, optimise and defragment hard drive volumes, rebuild directories, recover data and repartition hard drives.

System requirements call for Mac OS X 10.4 or later, 512MB RAM and an external FireWire device such as an older iPod.