You finally made it home after a long commute and an especially stressful day at work. Suddenly, you are aware of a discomfort in the chest, unlike anything you’ve experienced before. You sit down to relax but breathing becomes more difficult. What to do? Call 911? Ask someone to drive you to the ER or maybe just the local Urgent Care center? In a state of heightened anxiety and confusion, critical decisions need to be made… and quickly.
A California firm, Scanadu, has developed a device, called the Scandau Scout, that can instantly determine critical physiological data in such situations. The company has just begun field testing the Scout – an easy to use device that determines vital signs, displays and then stores them on a smartphone. An ultra-sleek looking gadget, about 2 inches in diameter and half an inch thick, its functioning is dependent on several physiologic sensors.
To use the Scout, it is simply held to the left forehead for about a minute to establish temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate, pulse, variability in heart rate and EKG. The information can instantly be transmitted to medical personnel for assessment and further instructions. The triage that normally begins in the ER, has just started at home. Just as interesting, is that the concept of developing the Scout, first occurred to Scandau founders following a family tragedy and the experiences that followed in the medical center.
Although it may be used in emergency situations, developers hope that the Scout will find even greater usage in daily settings. They propose that with such simple access to physiologic measures, individuals will be able to better monitor circumstances or individuals that give rise to vital signs associated with heightened emotional distress and then avoid them. Could this mean that before having the day’s fourth cup of Java or deciding on a congested route option preferred by the GPS, you check the stress level on the Scout?
Scandau gained financial support for the research and development of the Scout through crowd funding. Recently it has begun distributing the device to its share holders, at a cost of about $200, partly in an attempt to gather usage data required by the FDA. So confident is Scandau of FDA approval, that it has already begun developing its next home testing device, the Scanflow, which will provide urine analysis on as much as a dozen urine values.