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Tricorder

Track your vital signs using your smartphone

The Scanadu Scout is hockey puck-shaped device that is placed against your temple to measure your heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, run an electrocardiogram, and detect oxygen levels in your blood. This new device is being brought to market via the crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, and can complete its scan in under 10 seconds. No wonder it's being termed the "tricorder" after the famous medical scanner used by Star Treks Spock.

Utilising the huge number-crunching capability and connectivity of modern smartphones, the device pairs with an App which can log, analayse and transmit the readings accordingly. It's even capable of supporting multiple users, and in an uncanny twist actually has a space connection - it was originally designed for NASA to monitor astronauts on the International Space station.

Breaks Indiegogo crowdfunding record

Scanadu Scout communicates using Bluetooth LE. Scanadu met its $100,000 Indiegogo target in 1 day and went on to become the websites hightest funded project ever, with a total of 8,500 backers pledging $1.6m. This suprised even its creator, Walter De Brouwer, since he had developed the prototypes almost in a vacuum and has hesitant to go the crowdsourcing route initially. Indiegogo backers can expect to get their unit by March 2014. Brouwer said: "We are in awe at the enthusiasm the community has shown for the Scanadu Scout since the prototype was first revealed six months ago. We get calls and emails everyday from parents, researchers, students and body hackers anxious to be part of the first generation of consumers to truly understand their own health."

Regulation is a huge concern for any new medical device. The first batch sold through Indiegogo won't have FDA approval - this is made clear to users up front. Instead, they are invited to participate in a mass study covering the devices accuracy, usablility and functionality. These results will then used to support the full FDA application which the device needs in order to hit retail stores.

The device is charged through its a micro-USB slot and is reported to last a week between charges when only used a few times a day. To conserve power even further it even supoportes the Bluetooth 4.0 smart low energy standard, recently introduced to Android 4.3.

Scanadu ("Scan + Xanadu") has come a long way since its humble Singularity Univeristy startup origins.

Tricoder? Emergency room in your pocket? Whatever the tag, this sure looks like a fascinating device indeed, Mr Spock.