Scanadu brings us one step closer to Star Trek’s medical tricorder, coming in 2013
Answering a $10 million wake-up call coming from Qualcomm’s X Prize for building the first tricorder from early 2012, the Scanadu Scout is a medical tricorder. With all sorts of sensors reading your body data, the Scout will work with your smartphone, using it to make its calculations. The device is designed to save you a trip to the doctor and keep a continuous record of your vitals - temperature, pulse and breathing pace.
The device is a two inch square box, half an inch thick, coming with an infra-red, electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (EKG) sensors that make it unique. It is powered by a rechargeable battery, and also features accelerometer and Bluetooth connectivity. The companion app will work with iOS, Android and BlackBerry 7 via Bluetooth.
Functional prototypes are already out there and reportedly take 10 to 15 seconds to do the analysis.
Right along with the Scout come two even more ambitious projects that will decode your spit and pee into useful data. Project Scanaflu and Project Scanaflo will introduce the flu and pregnancy tests to digital diagnostics.
Instead of going to the doctor, you would simply spit on a disposable card with Scanaflu testing saliva for strep, influenza A and B, and other bacteria related to respiratory infections.
Scanaflo is a bit more complex. It is a pregnancy test but not only. You have 10 boxes where you have to mix urine with what’s in them to get a specific color, and you then scan this with a smartphone. This will tell women whether they are pregnant, but also it can work all through pregnancy returning important results like signs of any complications with liver and other organs.
To get the $10 million X Prize for a medical tricorder, the Scanadu Scout will have to answer the following requirements:
- Provide ongoing metrics of health (vitals)
- Allow monitoring or continuous use of sensors to diagnose and measure health
- Provide awareness of health state
- Give confirmation that everything is OK with a consumer
- Notify that something is not OK (a "check engine light")
Not just that, it should be capable of diagnosing these 11 conditions:
- Urinary tract infection
- Atrial fibrillation
- Strep throat
- Sleep apnea
- Melanoma screen
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Abnormalities in a comprehensive metabolic panel