Not long ago, the idea of a device that could be placed on a person’s skin to read vital signs within seconds was science fiction. However, in less than a year, it will be reality. Scanadu’s Scout, is billed as “the first Medical Tricorder” on the project’s Indiegogo page. Trekkies know that the tricorder is a handheld device used by the Startfleet’s medical team to collect bodily data and help diagnose disease. In my case, I had to Google it. The Scout certainly fits the tricorder definition. Users hold the small plastic device to their forehead and within seconds bodily data, including heart rate, temperature, oxymetry, respiratory rate, blood pressure, ECG, and emotional stress, is beamed to their smartphone via a Bluetooth connection. The company is marketing Scout directly to consumers who are interested in tracking their body’s data. Users who are managing chronic conditions can track how their body reacts to certain activities, medications, or foods and bring that data to their physician or nurse practitioner to make better informed health decisions. Scanadu founder Walter De Brouwer came up with the idea for Scout while spending time in the hospital, where his son was being treated. De Brouwer started paying more attention to the data on the various machines and began to understand what the information meant. “It was very liberating to have that knowledge,” De Brouwer says in a promotional video. “I want to make a company that, you know, gives people these numbers.” Scanadu is not the only company working on the tricorder. Qualcomm has created a $10 million global competition to motivate developers to create a wireless mobile device capable of diagnosing a set of 15 diseases. Qualcomm will start qualifying entrants in early 2014 and name a winner in 2015. In the meantime, Scanadu plans to deliver the first version of Scout to its Indiegogo supporters in March 2014. Those users will help the company test the product and collect data that will be used to file an application with the FDA for medical device approval. If you want to be a Scout tester, head over to the Indiegogo site and make a contribution.