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.

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