Ina Fried

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Scanadu Hikes Price, Beefs Up Specs of Forthcoming Medical “Tricorder”

As it worked to finalize its smartphone health-monitoring attachment, Scanadu decided that its planned $150 device wasn’t going to quite cut it.

The redesigned Scanadu Scout

The redesigned Scanadu Scout

People wanted more features and the ability to use the Scout on others, not just to measure their own vital statistics. So the company is adding a beefier processor as well as a new design that will allow people to measure their own vitals and those of others. The company is also using the new hardware to measure blood pressure without a cuff at 95 percent accuracy.

“The bad news is it is going to cost a bit more,” Scanadu’s Walter De Brouwer said in an interview. The Scout will now sell for $199 rather than the planned $149.

The company will still offer the first 1,000 devices for the original $149 price via an early testing program launching Wednesday on Indiegogo. The company says selling early products to testers this way will get the company the data it needs to get Food and Drug Administration approval — a necessary step before it can be sold commercially.

Depending on how long that approval takes, De Brouwer said that Scanadu hopes to make Scout commercially available in late 2014 or early 2015.

“Then we will be a real tricorder,” he said, arriving just in time for a Qualcomm-sponsored prize to build a commercial version of the “Star Trek” tricorder.

To tide it over, De Brouwer said the largely bootstrapped startup has raised a bit more money.

“Obviously, we are not a rich company, but we have enough to pull [it] off.”

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