Star Trek is currently one of the top trending topics of social media and with director JJ Abrams once again piloting the U.S.S Enterprise straight up the cinema charts with Star Trek Into Darkness, there really isn’t a better time to capitalise on the buzz with a gadget that comes straight out of science fiction and right into science fact!
That’s just what a NASA-based tech research company called Scanadu is doing as part of Qualcomm’s quest to find a self-diagnosing medical tool, which for Trekkies is essentially what’s known as a medical ‘Tricorder’. This idea has been seen in the Star Trek TV shows and spin-off movies for over 45 years and Scanadu’s response to the challenge is called the Scout, which has now been launched as ‘the first medical Tricorder’ on crowd-funding website IndieGoGo. (Check out our previous article on the Qualcomm Tricorder challenge from January 2012).
Just like the technology from the telly in the classic 60’s Star Trek series and later in The Next Generation throughout the 90s and beyond, the Scout monitors vital signs such as heart rate and temperature to assess physical abnormalities which could relate to an oncoming illness. This is done be simply popping the small round device onto a patient’s forehead for just ten seconds and letting it beam its findings over to a smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately it won’t take away the sniffles, but it will let you know if it’s time to visit sick bay!
The online funding site IndieGoGo will allow the researchers at Scanadu to work on updating the Scout and current work on the project includes developing a tab for saliva and urine testing – Fascinating!
Early backers of the project can support the Scanadu’s research for as little as £10 but for $149 can guarantee one of the first 1000 Scouts available before the Tricorder makes the leap from fantasy to reality and goes on sale to the public for an estimated $200.