MedWand is the closest thing we seen so far to a Tricorder. The scanner combines a stethoscope, thermometer, electrocardiogram and more in a small hand-held device.
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There’s no need to explain to fans of Star-Trek what a Tricorder is. They’ll have head of it. Multiple versions appear in the Sci-Fi movie including one that is used to help diagnose diseases and collect bodily information about a patient. The “Tri” is a reference to the three functions: sensing, computing and recording.
Scanadu had lofty aspirations at creating such a gadget a number of years back. The company made a name for itself with Scout, a device that could check for heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Ultimately the medical startup failed to secure FDA approval and shut down support for the product. This in turn sparked lots of anger from customers who bought the device.
Fast forward a few years and now we have MedWand. The Star-Trek-esque device has actually been around for a while but the most recent version is being demoed at CES 2020.
The scanner measures heart rate, takes ECGs, listens to lungs for respiration rate, measures blood oxygen levels, takes your temperature, listens to your abdomen, looks inside nose/throat/mouth, looks inside ears and inspects the skin. That’s about 10 medical devices in one computer mouse-sized device.
The ultimate goal is to allow doctors to conduct examinations of their patients remotely, no matter what corner of the world they are in. The current iteration of the device allows close to 75% of what you’d get in a typical doctor’s visit.
“I wanted to create something that was literally portable, hand-held and could be at home with the patient or at work with the patient,” said Dr. Samir Qamar, CEO of MedWand.
“That is how I think it is going to advance telemedicine in that you’ll now be able to have examinations in addition to just basic video chat.”
There are a number of iterations of MedWand. The highest spec one is called MobileDoc. This one is aimed for healthcare professional as well as global use on ships and aircraft.
The scanner has earned awards in two categories at CES 2020 – “Tech for a better world” and “Health and wellness”. If all goes well the $399 MedWand will be available in the United States in mid-2020.
There will come a time in the not-too-distant future when you are not feeling well and have something like this sitting next to your computer. It will allow your doctor to check in on your vitals without you ever having to leave your house.
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