Is the Tricorder Device a Reality?

Back in January, Qualcomm and the X-Prize Foundation announced a contest that offered $10 million to anyone that could develop a tricorder similar to the one that was used in Star Trek.  I wrote back then that I didn’t think it was that unrealistic, and after reading a recent article, I am even more convinced that we will see such a device in the very near future.

The article was written by Mark Mills of who addresses how social media will lead to the next revolution: Social Medicine.  I’ve written about the use of social media and how beneficial it can be to healthcare on so many levels, but he describes it better than I ever could.

The company that he talks about, Scanadu, definitely seems to have the write idea in terms of using social media to make the tricorder a reality.  You can see a short video below that gives a great visual of what they are trying to accomplish in making healthcare more accessible and efficient for everyone.

How awesome would it be to be able to take pictures of a rash or injury that your kid had, add a few details of how they are feeling, and within seconds get a pretty good idea of what is wrong with them.  If it was an emergency you would know quickly and be able to get them the help they needed.  In general, an emergency is relatively obvious, so to me the greater value is in preventing unnecessary trips to the doctor when the condition will simply pass with time.

In this world of instant gratification it would be awesome to to be able to get more regular updates on your health.  The one major risk here is that people will rely solely on their smartphone and attached devices rather than going to a professional when they really need it.  The beauty there is that it would be super easy to send an email or phone message to the patient’s doctor letting them know what is going on with their patient so they could step in if needed.

It will be incredibly exciting to see how Scanadu and other companies develop modern technology into the social medicine of the future.  Do you think there is any limit to what is possible in the future of healthcare?


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David Lynn

David Lynn


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