A Tricorder at Last
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A Tricorder at LastMr. Spock: "I shall beam down at once. Mr. Scott, you have the con."

Dr. McCoy: "I'll pick up my medical tricorder and meet you in the transporter room."

Aah, the old tricorder. If you're a Star Trek fan you know that the ship's doctor, "Bones", used a remote control like device to scan and diagnose a patient.

Amazingly enough, just 35 years after Star Trek, the tricorder may have arrived on Earth. It’s called the Scout and is made by Scanadu. The company will allow a limited number of people to register and pay to use Scout as part of a study to ensure its accuracy. Then the company will use the study to apply for an FDA certification so that it can be sold as an over the counter consumer grade diagnostic tool.

Scout is palm-sized and designed to work while pressed against a person’s temple. In ten seconds it measures your vital signs with 99% accuracy. In that time it can read body temperature, heart and respiratory rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, stress level, and perform an electrocardiogram using nothing but optical sensors.

The readings are sent via Bluetooth to a smartphone where apps track and analyze the data. Scout uses a 32 bit processor based on Micrium, the same real-time operation system used on NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover.

Scout was intended for NASA astronauts to monitor important health indices while in space. But now, this simple device could be a valuable tool for first responders and health care providers who need quick, accurate vital signs.

Scanadu could eventually add new features such as plug-in sensors to expand Scout’s capabilities.

Beam me up, Scotty!

For more information…

Scanadu Scout
"A scanner packed with sensors that enables anyone to conduct sophisticated physical exams — in a snap."

Trekkies rejoice! Qualcomm and X Prize offer $10 million for real-life tricorder
"Qualcomm Foundation and the X Prize Foundation are challenging technology and medical innovators to develop a real-life mobile tricorder that can diagnose 15 diseases without any poking, prodding or invasive tests."

Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE
"Imagine a portable, wireless device in the palm of your hand that monitors and diagnoses your health conditions. That’s the technology envisioned by this competition, and it will allow unprecedented access to personal health metrics. The end result: Radical innovation in healthcare that will give individuals far greater choices in when, where, and how they receive care."