The vast array of smartphone apps available today means we can use our cell phones for almost anything, including self-monitoring of our health. Now, health electronics company Scanadu has received $10.5 million in funding for its new monitoring device that can send vital signs straight to a cell phone.

The Scanadu Scout is a health monitoring device that creators say is able to read a person’s vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure and respiratory rate, in 10 seconds. The device then sends the readings to a smartphone.

Created by Scanadu founder Walter De Brouwer and a team of researchers, the device was also the center of a campaign this year through Indiegogo – an international crowdfunding website – and raised $1.66 million from more than 8,500 backers over 100 countries. But why has the Scanadu Scout created so much interest?

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The creators of the Scanadu Scout (pictured) say the monitoring device can read vital signs – such as temperature and blood pressure – in 10 seconds and send the results to a smartphone. Image credit: Scanadu

The Scandu Scout is a health monitoring device that creators say can read a variety of vital signs. These are:

  • Temperature
  • Respiratory rate
  • Oximetry (saturation of hemoglobin)
  • ECG (electrocardiography)
  • Systolic blood pressure
  • Diastolic blood pressure
  • Stress.

By placing the device to the forehead, the creators say it can read vital signs within 10 seconds and send the results to a Scanadu smartphone app via Bluetooth.

Walter De Brouwer, founder and CEO of Scanadu, says he came up with the idea of a series of mobile health monitoring devices after he experienced a medical emergency with his son.

He spent a year in the hospital attempting to understand medical data and how the machines work and felt that by understanding the data, he was able to have better conversations with the doctors and play a part in his son’s care.

With Scanadu, De Brouwer’s aim has been to allow patients to have control over their health:

Consumers don’t have the tools they need to monitor their health and make informed decisions about when they’re actually sick and need to see a doctor.

We want to empower consumers to take control of their health and give them direct access to their personal healthfeed.”

The creators also believe the device has the potential to help decrease hospital readmissions and reduce the costs of managing chronic conditions for both patients and insurance companies.

The company closed its Indiegogo campaign in July this year. All participants in the campaign are to receive a delivery of the device in March next year, and on a voluntary basis, they can take part in a usability study – something the creators say is “crucial to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval.”

The most recent $10.5 million Series A funding came from a variety of investors, including Relay Ventures, Ame Cloud Ventures, Redmile Group and Broe Group.

The funding will be used to support Scanadu’s “go-to-market” strategy, manufacturing, FDA approval and to increase the number of team members.

As part of its market strategy, the company will be conducting its first clinical trials for the device at the Scripps Translational Science Institute in California.

These trials will be conducted as part of the Wired for Health mobile trial and will include patients suffering from diabetes, hypertension and heart arrhythmia.

The company notes that this first trial will help to develop future controlled studies, and it will be designed so that adults will use the device to reach their optimal blood pressure.

Commenting on the company’s funding, De Brouwer says:

We are more determined than ever to make the first medical tricorder a reality. With the experience and expertise of this group of investors and advisors, we know we’re in the right position to take our vision all the way and put FDA-approved devices in the hands of consumers.”

As well as the Scanadu Scout, the company is in the process of creating another device, called ScanaFlo.

This is a disposable urine analysis kit that the creators say once FDA approved, could test for pregnancy complications, gestational diabetes, kidney failure and urinary tract infections.

Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on the creation of a smartphone microscope that can detect viruses and material less that one-thousandth of the width of a human hair.