Scanadu will let you track your vital signs on your smartphone

By April 29, 2013
scanadu SCOUT

Scanadu is building devices to enable people to monitor their own and their family’s state of health.


According to a report published by ON World, a San Diego-based research firm which provides business intelligence on smart technology markets, 18.2 million sensors for use in tracking personal health and well-being will be shipped in 2017, generating $16.3 billion in annual revenue. This compares with a figure of 1.7 million shipments in 2012, already representing $4.9 billion worth of sales. This predicted substantial rise is clearly an indicator of massive market potential. An increasing number of e-health startups are developing sensors which are placed either on mobile devices or worn on the body, providing the user/wearer with a range of information on health status and lifestyle, or even early warnings on all kinds of illnesses that may be around the corner. Scanadu, a company founded in Brussels but now based in Silicon Valley, is not one of those focusing on the fitness and well-being markets. This startup makes professional quality medical technology devices for consumers which enable the user to monitor and understand various parameters of his/her own health or that of family members. Scanadu has so far developed three separate products, which have yet to be launched on the market: Scanadu SCOUT, ScanaFlu and ScanaFlo.

Mobile technology and sensors combine to give real-time physiological data

Scanadu has developed technology to analyse various types of information such as images, sound and molecules: these data are processed to give the user an overall picture of his/her health. The first product, Scanadu SCOUT, is a small portable electronic device which enables a person to measure a range of different physiological parameters, including pulse transit time, heart rate, electrical heart activity, body temperature, heart rate variability, and blood oxygenation. The data received by the device are sent to the Scanadu mobile app connected to it, so as to provide a full health status picture on the user’s smartphone. ScanaFlo is a small device that provides urine analysis and is designed to be used to track diabetes or urinary infections. ScanaFlu is a saliva testing devicewhich enables its user to see whether s/he has contracted influenza. Longer term, Scanadu intends that all three products will be able to communicate via the same mobile app, which would then bring together all data on the user and his/her family.

A better grasp of your health status

Scanadu’s marketing emphasises the educational nature of its products. Using the company’s app, consumers should be able to monitor and learn about their current health status – and that of their families – and how it evolves over time. Scanadu says that the company is building “a way (for people) to check their bodies as often as they check their email.”  One imaginable scenario is that those anxious parents who tend to run straight to their doctor whenever their child has a high temperature might find some reassurance by using the Scanadu devices. If this approach catches on, having this kind of concrete information could lead to a dramatic fall in healthcare costs. At the same time, helping people to obtain a better grasp of their own state of health should mean that they can have more informed discussions with their healthcare providers. Scanadu stresses that it is not aiming to compete with health practitioners; indeed they might well end up using Scanaduproducts.


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