How it works: Electrocardiograms (ECGs) used in hospitals measure the heart’s electrical activity via small electrodes attached to the skin; Scanadu has fit that ECG technology into a sensor the size of a hockey puck. When you hold the Scanadu Scout by your forehead for 10 seconds, sensors read and record your vital signs. The device measures heart rate, body temperature, oxygen saturation in the blood, respiratory rate, blood pressure and the heart’s electrical activity. This information is then beamed to the user’s smartphone app using Bluetooth LE. It shows patterns in the data over time.
How it will help people: The information can be especially helpful to those who need to monitor their heart and lung health; who have cardiovascular disease or emphysema; or who are recovering at home after major surgery. As Walter de Brouwer, CEO of the U.S.-based Scanadu, explains, “The only tool we have at home right now is the thermometer and maybe a blood pressure monitor, but there are so many other important health parameters.” Understanding what your numbers are, he adds, will lead to “improved conversations with your doctor.”
Expected to be for sale in North America: Currently, the company is working to finalize a version for submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Projected retail cost: US$199