The future of medicine is closing in–pre-order the first medical grade tricorder now for only $199

Scanadu Scout

The future in medicine arrives next March thanks to NASA, a company named Scanadu, and thousands of donors to an Indiegogo campaign to bring the first medical grade tricorder to the marketplace.  Scanadu, one of the competitors in Qualcomm’s $10 million XPrize competition to build the world’s first medical tricorder, is in final development stages and is taking pre-orders for the Scanadu Scout First Edition for only $199.

The Qualcomm competition is looking for the best tricorder, submitted by dozens of inventors and science laboratories across the world.  The parameters are few–it must weigh less than five pounds, and must be capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases.  Metrics can include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature.  Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements, according to the competition rules.

TOS tricorder prototype Sternbach ST Next Gen tricorder

Inspired by the Star Trek tricorder, medicine already has scanning devices similar to those used by Dr. Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The competition entrants are expected to go further, to combine the best of both the original series tricorder used by Dr. McCoy, and the updated, smaller device used by the crew of the Enterprise-D, created by designer Rick Sternbach.  To long-time Star Trek fans, we will think of this new Scanadu tricorder not as the “first edition” but as the Mark I.


Scanadu’s Scout promises to emulate an emergency room in your pocket, allowing you to take your own vital statistics in the convenience of your own home, car, while traveling–anywhere–and within ten seconds of scanning your forehead the results will upload to an app on your smart phone via wireless Bluetooth.  It takes your heart rate, skin/core body temperature, blood oxygen, respiratory rate, blood pressure, ECG, and gauges emotional stress, all in seconds.  The data can be tracked, analyzed, trended, and stored on your phone and sent anywhere, recorded at the user’s discretion or shared with your doctor.  Scanadu will also be seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for the device, although the company makes clear this is only a data gathering tool.

Scanadu Scout is built on the 32-bit RTOS Micrium platform, NASA’s choice for sample analysis on the Mars Rover Curiosity.

Scanadu scan

We at have little doubt this device, if successful and released as promised, or its likely progeny will be in most American homes and workplaces by the end of 2015.  At $199 no family can pass this up.  Need to monitor your kid’s condition at camp?  Have an elderly parent that must monitor her blood pressure daily but can’t get a nurse to come because of bad weather, traffic, or natural disaster?  Want to make a last-minute check of your health before you start that half-marathon run?  The Scanadu Scout will use algorithms of beta users to not just scan and record vitals but to analyze them–letting users know how healthy they are at a given moment.

Want to be the first on your block to have a working medical tricorder?  Click here to pre-order yours for $199, with delivery expected next March.

C.J. Bunce

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