Scanadu developing a Medical Tricorder

January 3, 2012 by Deborah Braconnier report

(Medical Xpress) -- Do you remember the scenes from your favorite Star Trek episode where Dr. McCoy simple waves his scanner across an injured patient to diagnose the problem? Well, that technology may not be too far from becoming a reality as medical tech startup company Scanadu is creating a Tricorder.

The company was founded in January 2011 by Walter De Brouwer and is based out of the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

In May of 2011, the X-PRIZE Foundation announced a $10 million Tricorder X-PRIZE to encourage medical companies to work on producing devices that would help consumers assess their own health. With their developing Tricorder, Scanadu is the first potential contestant for the prize.

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Once the competing Tricorders are ready for use, they will be placed against a panel of physicians to test their diagnosing capabilities in a variety of different diseases.

Based on the trailer by Scanadu, the new device will be able to read your vital signs, including blood pressure, and temperature. It will include an onboard camera that will be able to analyze things such as rashes and infections. An onboard processing lab would be able to accept samples of blood or other for analysis.

Based on the results, the Tricorder would then inform you of the possible course of action. If it was something that needed immediate medical attention, your physician would be notified with the information.

Based on their progress so far, Scanadu just received $2 million in funding from a group of private investors which includes Sebastien De Halleux, the co-founder of the social network Playfish.

Their first Tricorder is set to be targeted to parents of small children as a way to better monitor their health. It will provide alerts for things such as immunization needs and potential outbreaks of viruses in the local area. If an appointment is needed with your physician, you would be able to set one up directly through the system.

With smartphones and technology a part of everyday life, the idea behind this Tricorder is to make personal medical monitoring as simple and as easy as checking your email on a daily basis.

Explore further: Doctors turn to smartphones, tablets to access medical data

More information: www.scanadu.com/

via SingularityHub

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5 comments

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Xbw
not rated yet Jan 03, 2012
Now hypochondriacs (wow I spelled that right on the first try?) have another tool for their phobia. haha

Seriously though, a great first step toward a real medical tricorder. Of course the tricorder could also take brain activity scans, check blood type and composition without contact and even check your DNA without physically contacting you. Let me know when you get one of those!
Martian
not rated yet Jan 03, 2012
Wow.I've got to get a couple of these when they come out.
TopherTO
not rated yet Jan 03, 2012
I can see my future dates now. Already stuck with the baldness gene, now they can instant scan to learn about my high blood pressure.

I'm screwed.
Returners
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2012
Needs to be able to upload "definitions" for viruses, bacteria, etc, so people can do their own labwork on the device for detecting Staph, Strep, Cold, Flu, STD, etc.

Addtionally, it would help people get the tests they REALLY need in "mystery diagnosis" situations, where the incompetent medical industry never seems to do the right tests, or in those odd intermittent symptoms situations, where the symptom seems to go away by the time you reach the doctor, etc.

Also, I think this would actually CURE Hypochondriasis, since it would give the individual a quick and easy way to reassure themselves that there is nothing wrong with them.
Ramael
1 / 5 (2) Jan 04, 2012
Hypochondria is a phobia rooted in neurosis. This wouldn't cure it but it wouldn't make it worse either, it would just be a tool.

Regardless, this is awesome though! The medical industry is becoming incompetent and to a degree personal health should be taken back into the household domain, at least partially. We still need our experts, but if it takes me 3 weeks to get an appointment with a gp to diagnose a flu, why wait when there's a simple app that can do it? And imagine what this can do for mobile doctors in third world countries?

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