Of all the gadgets and gizmos born from science fiction, few have held such popular appeal as Gene Roddenberry’s tricorder. The scanning sensor device from "Star Trek" gathered and crunched all sorts of data, even enabling "a country Doctor" like Bones to make a full medical diagnoses in a matter of seconds.


Modern technology has a funny way of turning fiction into truth, and that's true of the tricorder. A personalized health electronics company called Scanadu has announced the launch of a revolutionary handheld medical scanning device that works in tandem with a smartphone to take all five vital signs in a mere 10 seconds.


“The thermometer, introduced in the 1800s, was the last great tool to revolutionize home healthcare,” said Walter de Brouwer, founder and CEO of Scanadu. “Consumers don’t have the tools they need to monitor their health and make informed decisions about when they’re actually sick and need to see a doctor. We want to empower consumers to take control of their health and give them direct access to their personal healthfeed.”


Hypochondriacs who repeatedly self-diagnose their demise via WebMD will breathe a sigh of relief.


The device, called Scanadu SCOUT, will be joined by other products after the initial launch — namely two disposable early-detection diagnostic tools, Project ScanaFlo and Project ScanaFlu.


Project ScanaFlo will work as an over-the-counter cartridge that can employ the smartphone as a urine analysis reader. It will be able to test for pregnancy complications, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, kidney failure and urinary tract infections. The other device, Project ScanaFlu, will use the smartphone as a reader to quickly assess cold-like symptoms. By testing saliva, the disposable cartridge will provide early detection for strep A, influenza A, influenza B, as well as respiratory infections like the adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).


The SCOUT will be available at the end of the year for $150; the other products are expected to be relatively low-cost as well.


Now if they could just figure out how to build a transporter.


See the device in action in this clip from the maker:



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