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Tag Archive: Scanadu


Scanadu Scout

In June 2013, more than three years ago, we previewed the Scanadu Scout First Edition here, a medical device in the concept stage that was being kicked off as an Indiegogo campaign intended to be the first step in bringing to the world a functional medical tricorder.  The future in medicine was expected to arrive by March 2014.  Scanadu, one of the competitors in Qualcomm’s $10 million XPrize competition to build the world’s first medical tricorder, was in final development stages and taking pre-orders for the Scanadu Scout First Edition for only $199.

Inspired by the Star Trek tricorder, medical science 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 for the series 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.  It’s only a first step, as the XPrize is intended to do much more, as explained below.

Scanadu has had its ups and downs with the Scanadu Scout First Edition and did a fine job keeping its backers notified as to its progress since the launch in 2013.  Ultimately the devices began to be shipped in the first half of 2015– a year after the expected ship date.  When our version arrived we quickly hit the first snag.  Since the hockey puck-shaped device requires an Android or iPhone for data transmission, it requires a Scanadu app.  The problem was the app compatability was limited.  So many of the 8,500 backers were able to proceed, but those of us with a different brand of phone (we used an LG) were out of luck.  So when we switched phones last week we finally were able to test the device, now more than three years after the Indiegogo campaign began.

Scout scan images

Even with a device that had not been charged, we were able to take it from the box, download and launch the app, and commence the first scan within a few minutes.  And it worked.  The Scanadu Scout promises to deliver readings for heart rate, body temperature, blood oxygen saturation, and blood pressure.  Our readings showed consistent measurements for each category.

The device has two sensors.  Holding one on your forehead and the other with the left index finger a circuit with your heart is created.  The device reads the data, which takes less than a minute to collect, and sends it to your smartphone via Bluetooth signal where you can track trends in your data, email it to yourself, etc.  It works just like Dr. Crusher used her medical tricorder on Star Trek: The Next Generation, shown here–one device as scanner is held to the forehead and data is transferred to a tricorder/reader (in Scanadu’s case, it’s a smartphone) and analyzed:

scanning

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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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