Portable "tricorder" scans life signs

October 18, 2018, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Credit: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Scientists from the School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow have developed a handheld device for taking medical readings from patients, and transferring the data to a smartphone.

The device, which combines a handheld sensor and an app running on an Android smartphone or tablet, was partly inspired by the "tricorder" portable scanning/data-capture machine, used by crewmembers of starships in the fictional "Star Trek" universe.

The sensor works by using a smaller than a fingertip, which is divided into four "zones" to count the number of four different types of metabolites ( found in body fluids). It can detect multiple types of these materials simultaneously, speeding up the process of data-acquisition. The relative levels of these metabolites can provide an indication of the general health of the patient, as well as the progress of certain diseases.

The scanner transmits its findings to the Android device, which can provide rapid diagnosis in the case of medical conditions including prostate cancer and heart disease. The chip is made from a new form of semiconductor (CMOS) which is often found in imaging devices, is cheap to manufacture, and is more compact than its predecessors.

The development team believes this system offers a low-cost means of tracking disease in its early stages, and to provide rapid data results and diagnosis in locations where this may previously have been difficult or impossible to achieve.

Explore further: A Star Trek-inspired handheld device for sophisticated medical diagnostics

Related Stories

Wireless handheld spectrometer transmits data to smartphone

November 8, 2017

Spectral images, which contain more color information than is obtainable with a typical camera, reveal characteristics of tissue and other biological samples that can't be seen by the naked eye. A new smartphone-compatible ...

Adapting technology to image blood vessels in skin disease

July 30, 2018

Small vessel vasculitis—inflammation of the small blood vessels—appears as a stain of tiny, red dots covering the skin that, depending on the severity, can evolve into painful pustules or ulcers. In some patients, it ...

Portable biosensor warns of heart attack and stroke

February 23, 2018

A team of researchers from National Tsing Hua University and National Cheng Kung University, both in Taiwan, has developed a low-cost, portable medical sensor package that has the potential to alert users of medical issues ...

Team focus is on ultrasound window into the human body

October 30, 2017

(Tech Xplore)—A surgeon diagnosed his own cancer with the help of a phone. That is the attention-grabbing line that has turned people's attention to a new device to ship next year. It is the Butterfly iQ, a portable ultrasound ...

Recommended for you

Technology near for real-time TV political fact checks

January 18, 2019

A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate.

Privacy becomes a selling point at tech show

January 7, 2019

Apple is not among the exhibitors at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't prevent the iPhone maker from sending a message to attendees on a large billboard.

China's Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

January 7, 2019

Huawei Technologies Ltd. showed off a new processor chip for data centers and cloud computing Monday, expanding into new and growing markets despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.