A Tricorder is a multifunction hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and recording data. This type of device was first shown in Star Trek. Since long, researchers have been trying to build tricorder. Now the folks at Scanadu (a Silicon Valley startup who is trying to make and plan to sell consumer-geared gadgets that, along with a smartphone, tracks vital signs like blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate) are developing handheld devices called ‘SCOUT’ that will be able to help people get in touch with their physical health.
NASA-Ames Research Center based Scanadu is trying to build three innovative devices – SCOUT, ScanaFlo, and ScanaFlu. SCOUT is a palm-sized gizmo. A user just needs to hold it to his/her temple for 10 seconds (maximum), and the device will then send information such as the user’s heart rate, pulse, temperature and blood oxygen level to a companion phone app via Bluetooth. Scanaflo will be able to do urine-based pregnancy tests, preeclampisa, gestational diabetes, urinary tract infections and detect kidney problems. ScanaFlu will be able to do the saliva-based flu tests like Strep A, Influenza A, Influenza B, Adenovirus, and RSV.
In both cases (Scanaflo and Scanaflu) there are special boxes that will turn into different colors when exposed to the liquid in question; scan the boxes through a smartphone, and it’ll tell the user about what the test determined.
Scanadu has already made a prototype of SCOUT. Walter de Brouwer, the founder and CEO of Scanadu, has shown the prototyped SCOUT in San Francisco. Prototyped SCOUT is about the size of an Apple laptop adapter. However in a demonstration de Brouwer showed how SCOUT will work when it’ll be available.
The Scanadu team is currently working on apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. According to de Brouwer, the cost of SCOUT will be about $150 or less. And it will be available by the fall of 2013. Now the Scanadu is busy in further development of SCOUT.