Scanadu: The 'Star Trek' Medical Tricorder Becomes a Reality

Karlene Trudell

In 2013, a man bilked investors into funding a medical device that worked like the Star Trek tricorder. He even named it after the grumpy doctor who used in on the iconic show -- The "McCoy Home Health Tablet."

The man's "investment opportunity" was a scam, and according to the National Post, he was convicted for bilking people out of their money. However, just a little over a year later, a new tricorder like device, called the Scanadu Scout, has become a reality. And it works.

The device, pictured below, works by placing it on a patient's forehead. In a matter of seconds, a sensor measures vitals such as heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. It even provides a complete ECG reading.

The device came about after a successful crowdfunding campaign, and begins shipping to backers at the end of July, 2015.

The Scanadu is the invention of Walter De Brouwer, a Belgian entrepreneur, who came up with the idea after his son suffered brain damage from a fall.

De Brouwer told CNN that he got his inspiration from Star Trek, which he said was "more than just a movie, it was a business plan."

The tricorder in Star Trek was only used by a doctor, but De Brouwer says that the Scanadu can be used by anyone.

"We've medicalised [sic] your smartphone," he said.

"You can now check your health as easily as your email. People will no longer ask if there's a doctor on the plane, but if there's a Tricorder."

— Walter De Brouwer (@walterdebrouwer) February 15, 2015

— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) January 25, 2015

[Photos via Bruno Vincent/Getty Images and Britt+Co]

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