When you hear the word Tricorder, there’s only one thing that comes to mind – Star Trek. The beeping sounds are accompanied by a visual of Dr. Leonard McCoy, aka “Bones” hovering over a patient with what looks like a school kid’s grade 5 electronics project.
On board the Starship Enterprise, a Tricorder is a wireless medical device that reads a patient’s vital signs. In the 21st Century at International CES 2014, it’s the Scanadu Scout by Scanadu, a company based at NASA-Ames Research Centre.
This little round gadget, that looks more like a Steve Jobs creation rather than a medical device, is the Real McCoy – the world’s first medical Tricorder. Basically, it’s a scanner, with built-in sensors and a microphone that analyzes, tracks and trends your vital signs. You just simply hold it in your hand and place it to your forehead for 10 seconds.
The scope measures heart rate, skin and core body temperature, SpO2 oximetry (Oxygen saturation), respiratory rate, blood pressure, ECG and emotional stress. It’s used in conjunction with your iPhone or Android with an accompanying app and connects wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0 Smart LE (Low Energy).
“It’s inspired by the Mars Rover,” says Walter De Brouwer, Scanadu Founder and CEO.
The idea originally came about in 2005 when his son had an almost fatal brain injury after falling 11m, says De Brouwer in a CES interview with ChipChick. His son was in a coma for three months without knowing what was happening or going on around him, much to the distress of both De Brouwer and his wife. So he wanted to build a device that would lessen their reliance on the medical practitioners and hospitals.
“It will give people a very good idea of their health…and become equal partners with their doctors,” says De Brouwer.
It’s also like an emergency room in your pocket – having the potential to discover connections, spot side effects and catch problems early.
Scanadu Scout first showed up on the modern radar back in May 2013 as part of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign where they blew away their $100,000 funding goal by raising just under $1.7 million dollars. This is just one of the portfolio of FDA products designed for the consumer that the company says will put the experience of an emergency room in the palm of one’s hand.
The units will come in black or white and are expected to be available for sale this March with a price tag of just under $200 US.
Scanadu Scout takes home an honourable mention for the 2014 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards in the Health and Fitness category. I’m sure McCoy, played by DeForest Kelly, who passed away in 1999, would have been proud.
For more information visit Scanadu’s website.
Photos courtesy Scanadu.
Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.