Star Trek Medical Tricoder Becomes Reality

Kevin December 8, 2012 0

Star Trek fans are aware of a medical tricoder which was used in the series to keep track of the human health, including various parameters such as pulse transit time, heart rate, electrical heart activity and temperature etc. Good news is that this device has just become reality and would be available in the market by the end of 2013. This device, known as Scanadu SCOUT, will provide you with precise health information within seconds after you bring it in contact with the body. What’s more, it would be available at a price of just $150!

Various health parameters that would be tracked by Scanadu SCOUT include heart rate variability, blood oxygenation, heart rate, electrical heart activity, temperature and pulse transit time. The device would send the information to your iPhone or Android device via an app which would display it with a proper user interface.

The device has been invented by Walter de Brouwer from Belgium, who has previously worked on several cutting edge projects at MIT. According to Walter, the need to develop such as multitasking device emerged after his child had to spend some time in the intensive care unit of a hospital where he experienced a lot of frustrating and complicated medical devices. Clearly there was a need for a device that would monitor a person’s health anywhere, with ease and low cost.

For the purpose of this project, Walter assembled four teams of specialists at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. These teams consisted of highly qualified doctors, engineers, software engineers and mathematicians. The device, which would hit the market by the end of 2013, is expected to become as ubiquitous as thermometers which were introduced in the 19th century.

Other than SCOUT, two other similar products which are in the prototype stage are ScanaFlu and ScanaFlo. ScanaFlo is a disposable blue plastic rectangle with a QR code and a window containing paper swatches along with a color calibration target. It would give the reading, indicating any out of ordinary health issue, upon being peed on, just like the pregnancy test device. It would be used to know about pregnancy complications, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, kidney failure and urinary tract infections.

The other device, ScanaFlu, is a square with a small protuberance on which you have to spit. Based on the analysis of your saliva, the device would provide information about Strep A, Influenza A, Influenza B, Adenovirus and RSV. Both these devices would also be available by the end of 2013.

Clearly, these three devices would be a sort of revolution in the field of personal health care. You don’t need to visit hospitals and undergo complicated examination any more to get to know about the status of your health.

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