Shades Of A 'Star Trek' Tricorder

By T'Bonz
May 2, 2008 - 4:38 AM

A new invention couples a handheld scanner with a regular cell phone to create a "Star Trek-like" scanner.

As reported by redOrbit, the new invention, which uses off-the-shelf cell phone technology, would offer a diagnostic tool to the three-quarters of the world's population without access to other high-tech medical tools such as ultrasounds and x-rays.

The device is a portable scanner that can be plugged into a cell phone. The phone transmits the scanning data to processors, which create images that are then sent back to the cell phone screen for viewing.

Testing of the scanner was satisfactory, with the image being sent back being clearly visible to the recipient. Any phone that can send or receive pictures or audio and video clips can be used.

The scanner was developed for use in developing countries. "More than half of the medical equipment in developing countries is left unused or broken because it is too complicated or expensive to operate and repair," said Boris Rubinsky, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. "We set out to develop something that locals could sustain on their own, as well as something that is relevant to local economies and technologies."

The invention can be used in developed countries too. "Health professionals in rural clinics could affordably get the tools they need to properly diagnose and treat their patients," said Rubinsky. "If you had a car accident, you could put a cap on the hat of the victim in the ambulance, and before the ambulance even gets to the hospital, all the information can go through the cell phone, maybe to spot if that person has internal bleeding in their head."

To read more, head to the article located here.

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