Sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are famous among those looking to get funding for their products through crowdsourcing. Many companies that have pitched their offerings on these sites have received additional funding over what they were initially looking to acquire.
This was the case for Scanadu, a medical company that recently looked to Indigogo to fund its Scout medical tricorder. The company initially asked for $100,000 to get the device to the consumer market. It received more than $1.5 million, setting an Indiegogo record.
The Scout is a sensor-laden device that connects to a smartphone.
Simply put, the Scout monitors the user's vital functions in conjunction with a smartphone. It collects data such as heart rate, temperature, oximetry, ECG, HRV, and pulse wave transit time. It can measure stress and even perform urinary analysis. The device is placed on the patient's forehead. Within a matter of seconds, it collects a vast amount of data that is sent via a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone for analysis and storage. The information can then be sent wirelessly to a physician.
To acquire all the data the Scout collects, Scanadu designed the device using electrodes, IR/visible light sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, thermistors, and microphones -- all packed into a case that can easily fit inside a person's pocket.
Scanadu recently extended the Indiegogo campaign, not necessarily for the money (it would seem), but rather to garner feedback from a select few backers to improve the product. Scanadu also wants to see how the tricorder may be used and incorporate new features based on feedback from those consumers. So far, it has incorporated two new features based on early information gathered from participants: a cardiopulmonary sensor that monitors noise and technology that lets visually impaired users interact with the device.
Judging from the number of backers that Scanadu has received, it looks as though the Scout is very popular among MDs, parents, and medical students. The company hopes to have the final product ready to ship to initial backers in the first quarter of next year. The rest of the world will have to wait for the FDA to approve the device for consumer use, which should be sometime in the second half of 2014.