Inside Ames: ‘Star Trek’ inspired tricorder takes your vitals

The Scanadu Scout is a handheld device that measures your blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen level and heart rate in 30 seconds and sends the results to your smartphone.

The Star Trek tricorder is probably one of the coolest gadgets in science fiction. Well now there might be a real-world version coming out. We’re going to see how it works.
This small, round device is the Scanadu Scout.
It measures four key vital signs in about 30 seconds -- your blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen level and heart rate -- and sends the results to your smartphone.
Scanadu CEO Walter De Broewer says he wants people to use devices like this one to create a “vital signature” for their bodies
Walter De Brouwer
If you have your vital signs and your urine and blood, we basically have 99% of your medical record// Give that in the hands of the consumer then we shift the whole chain of information to the consumer.
The Scout is its first product and has optical, electrical and physical sensors- infrared, PPG, ECG and gyroscope- to measure your vitals.
Here’s how it works:
You place your index finger on the top sensor. Then you press it against your left forehead, right above your eyebrow.
While it’s scanning, you have to sit still because movement interferes with the optical sensors and prevents accurate readings. Once done, the data is sent to a smartphone app via Bluetooth.
Your results are color coordinated with the medical standard for each vital sign. So, say your blood pressure is low or high, you’ll see a red circle next to the reading warning you that it’s outside the normal range. The app also records your reading so you can monitor your vitals over time and share them with your doctor.
Scout is already in the hands of Over 7,000 Indiegogo backers who are serving as the early testers. Data from the test is being used as Scanadu seeks FDA approval for Scout as a medical device. This is expected to happen some time in 2016.
Scanadu is also working on a home urine test device that checks for indicators of liver, kidney or urinary tract infections or disorders. It can also test for complications during pregnancy, like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

These small, chemically reactive pads change color depending on what cells or substances are in the urine. After a minute of reaction time, you take a photo of the strip with the Scanadu app and, based on the color hues, it tells you if there is something abnormal that needs to be looked at further.
In the future, I think our hospitals will be full of mobile devices and people will have real conversations with their doctors about real medical things because they will know a lot more than they know now.
The Scout will go on sale for 199 dollars once Scanadu receives FDA approval to start selling the device. Now, if only we could get someone to come up with a real-life phaser, that would be pretty awesome.