Ina Fried

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Scanadu’s Scout Health Sensor to Sell for $150 Next Year, Digital Pee and Spit Sensors Optional

Earlier this year, Scanadu shared its plans for a digital health sensor that connects to an iPhone via Bluetooth.

The device is still around a year away, but the start-up is announcing a few more details, including its name — Scout — and its $150 price tag. Scout is designed to give people a continuous record of vital health information such as temperature, pulse and breathing rate. In doing so, people can see how their lifestyle is impacting their health and also notice when things are out of their own personal normal range.

Scanadu is also detailing two other efforts, Project Scanaflu and Project Scanaflo — efforts to bring flu tests and pregnancy tests into the digital age.

The former is a spit test and the latter a pee test, but rather than requiring someone to either play doctor or visit a real one, the tests can be read by a smartphone.

In the case of the pregnancy test, it is a urine test that can determine not only whether one is with child, but can also be used throughout pregnancy to monitor for signs of complications such as liver function, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. The test itself consists of 10 boxes which turn various colors when mixed with urine, with a smartphone used to capture the colored squares along with a unique bar code linked to the particular test and the time it is taken.

Project Scanaflu is a similar disposable card, but tests saliva to check for the presence of strep and influenza A and B, among other conditions.

Both projects, of course, require FDA approval. However, the company hopes getting that approval won’t be too much trouble since the underlying medical tests are approved on their own, though not in their current packaging.

Pricing and final naming of those products has yet to be determined, though CEO Walter de Brouwer said they should cost in the same ballpark as other home health tests.

As with Scout, the goal of the tests is not just for one-time diagnostics but also to help people put together a record of their health on a more continuous basis.

Health, de Brouwer said, is like a puzzle. “This is a piece of the puzzle.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work