Scanadu's real-life Star Trek Tricorder breaks Indiegogo records

July 19, 2013 7:32:29 PM PDT
It's a device first imagined on the original Star Trek series decades ago. And now, a local company's working on a real life medical Tricorder in a laboratory at NASA. The idea is so popular it's breaking records. And there's one day left get yourself an early prototype.

When the crew of the Starship Enterprise landed in San Francisco, they brought some pretty advanced medical devices with them. Perhaps the most famous is the Tricorder. The device that grabbed a patient's vital signs in an instant, lives on in an old movie prop that Scanadu CEO Walter de Brouwer keeps in his lab at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View.

"Just suppose that this would be in the hands of a consumer," Brouwer said. "You know like you would have the power not only to know what's going on with you, but also to help others."

That prop was the inspiration for the Scanadu Scout. Like the Star Trek version, it comes in two pieces. The scanner was originally made to look just like the movies. But now it's a little easier to hold. And the computer device? Well, you already have that. It's your smartphone.

Biomedical engineer Brandon Woolsey showed us how the Scout reads your heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen, and soon blood pressure, just by holding it between your fingers and your forehead.

"And every time I do this demo in front of a camera, my heart rate goes up," Woolsey said.

The idea is to make it easy enough that people will do it often and start to learn about their own health.

"They can even tell their doctor, my heart rate is indeed low, but it's always been low you know, look at over the three months, it's always been like that," Brouwer said.

The idea of this little device has apparently made enough people's hearts pound that it's just set a new record for the most heavily funded Indiegogo campaign ever.

"When we clicked the button for Indiegogo, it came from all over the place!" Brouwer exclaimed.

At $200 a pop, more than 8,000 people in a hundred countries have ordered this early version of the Scout. They'll be among the testers who help Scanadu win FDA approval.

There are still a few left, but the crowdfunding campaign ends Saturday at midnight.


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