Design in healthcare…

...will have a profound impact on life

October 8th, 2015

Among all of our differences we share one thing in common — we're all celebrating existence through this thing we call life. Life is the most complex system in the universe and yet our understanding of it is still quite small. We spend so much time checking our email, replying to messages, and keeping up with the pulse of the world through social media; it's no surprise that at our core we are a curious species. It’s our instinct to want to remain in-the-know. We have an innate desire to understand what's happening in the world around us. So then, why are we so in-the-dark about what is happening inside of our own bodies?

Health is a relative scale.

Whether we're healthy or not is a confounding question, often followed by doubt and uncertainty. As we age, the question increasingly encroaches to top of mind. We lose the invincibility of our youth and uncover the burden of age. We are overcome with a helpless feeling of not being able to undo the past. “Health”, so it seems, slaps us across the face in a moment of decline, rather than being an omnipresent indicator of well-being throughout our days. Many of us are guilty of monitoring our bank accounts, friends, and number of unread emails before of our health and well-being. Which is fair, considering the complexity in understanding one’s health and well-being isn’t as simple as counting the number of steps you take in a single day or looking at a number inside the red circle of a messaging application. At some point, an apple a day isn’t going to be enough to keep the doctor away. So if the app culture has taught us anything in life, we need to make the means of knowing our health more accessible, more affordable, and more connected, in order to enable people to frequently interact with each others' health on a day-to-day basis. If we can reduce these burdens, we might be able to increase the duration and quality of life.

Solving the puzzle.

We love methods for quantifying things, quantifying one’s self is becoming increasingly commonplace. People are wearing bands to track how much they move, watches which listen to their heart beat, and logging what they eat and drink. All positive signs towards having a picture of one’s health. But by no means does this form a complete picture. Rather, it’s like having just a couple of pieces out of a entire jigsaw puzzle figured out. It’s been the job of doctors to piece together the complex puzzle of our health, while blindfolded, and while simultaneously managing multiple puzzles for others.

It’s not news to anyone that this system is broken. To quote BJ Miller from his recent TED talk, “The American healthcare system has more than it’s fair share of disfunction to match it’s brilliance.”  The dysfunction of the current system is not placing people at the center. A system designed to put healthcare back into the hands of people and caregivers can greatly reduce the mystery of our health and begin to allow us a deeper understanding of ourselves.

The time is ripe.

The effects of design in healthcare will have a profound impact on life. Design is an opportunity to improve signal and reduce noise in a system that is over stretched and under utilized. To make something clear, understandable, and ultimately more functional is how design moves from being merely aesthetic to being an instrument of change. It is greatly needed in the life sciences, to better understand this life we share. I have heard the call and am ready for the challenge.

To life.

Scott Thomas, Chief Creative Officer

This blog was first posted on Medium on September 15th, 2015 |

Under Pressure

September 29, 2015

A landmark NIH study made headline news in September 2015. People might be able to reduce heart attacks, heart failure and stroke by almost a third and the risk of death by almost a quarter. How? Simply with vigorous management of high blood pressure – beyond the current guidelines.

The life-saving effect in the study was so dramatic that the NIH stopped the study early. They wanted to quickly spread the word to the 1 in 3 of us who already have high blood pressure. And of course to the 9300 people in the study.

How we monitor and control blood pressure matters.

ACT 1 – The Opening

Flashback to 1733. A scientific revolution was underway. Amateurs and professionals were exuberantly studying the world.  The Enlightenment was in the air. A keen interest in science led a 56-year-old country parson named Stephen Hales to take a hydraulic technique for measuring pressure and use it on a living creature.

Hales inserted a small brass tube, 1/6 inch in diameter, into an artery in the thigh of a living horse.  The mare was lying down on that December day. Hales then attached a 9-foot-tall, slim glass tube. A column of blood in the tube rose to 8 feet 3 inches above the level of the heart, and rose or fell with each pulse by 2, 3, or 4 inches. Hales had discovered blood pressure.

Scene 2

Almost a hundred years later, in the Paris of 1828, the next major advance came from a 29-year-old student, Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille, as part of his doctoral dissertation. He replaced the 9-foot glass tube with a short tube of mercury, still connected to a tube inserted into an artery. He won the gold medal of the Royal Academy of Medicine for this advance. And ever since, blood pressure has been measured in millimeters of mercury, even though mercury is now obsolete.

A systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg is the force needed to raise a column of mercury by about 5 ½ inches.

Scene 3

More than a quarter century after that, in 1855, a professor at the University of Tübingen came up with a cool idea. Karl von Vierordt suggested a way to measure blood pressure without slicing into someone. Instead of opening a blood vessel, one could theoretically deduce the pressure by measuring the counterforce needed to stop the blood flow.

He called his device the sphygmograph (‘sphygmo’ comes from the word for pulse). He placed a pad over the subject’s wrist. He then added weights to a lever attached to the pad until the pulse beneath the pad stopped. Meanwhile, a pencil attached to the lever recorded the movements on a rotating drum.

Unfortunately, his device was cumbersome and didn’t really work. Great idea, though! And it inspired many variations on the theme over the next decades. Until…

ACT 2 – The Cuff

An Italian doctor named Scipione Riva-Rocci developed the first modern sphygmomanometer (‘manometer’ is a pressure meter). His breakthrough came in 1896. He wrapped a cuff around the upper arm, inflated the cuff with a rubber bulb, and watched a column of mercury in a glass tube. When he could no longer feel the pulse at the wrist with his finger, he had found the blood pressure.

Comparatively fast, precise, and a lot less painful.

How did the medical community respond? Some doctors saw this as a powerful new tool. But the British Medical Journal believed the tool was unnecessary and wrote that by using the sphygmomanometer “we pauperize our senses and weaken clinical acuity.” Physicians had relied on their fingers to gauge blood pressure without measuring since ancient Egypt.

Many physicians still thought that assessing the blood pressure by feeling the pulse with a finger was adequate, the way they had always done it. But the modern physician a hundred years ago was armed with a stethoscope, a thermometer, and a blood pressure cuff.

Scene 2

Over the twentieth century, our most pressing medical problems moved from infectious diseases to chronic illnesses related to our lifestyle. Of the core three diagnostic tools in the doctor’s bag, the blood pressure cuff became in many ways the most important.

In measuring blood pressure, using the stethoscope to listen to the pulse replaced a finger on the wrist in 1905, thanks to the innovation of a Russian surgeon named N. C. Korotkoff. This allowed physicians to detect both the peak (systolic) and trough (diastolic) pressures.

This technique became and has remained the gold standard of blood pressure measurement (outside the OR or the ICU). But it wasn’t actually measuring blood pressure, just the counter pressure needed to collapse a blood vessel. Among other problems, this varied with the stiffness of the vessel, the amount of muscle or other tissue over the vessel, placement of the stethoscope, background noise, and with user differences in the ability to hear quiet sounds.

Having an estimate of blood pressure is so important that in choosing our gold standard we willingly sacrificed some accuracy in order to improve safety, comfort, and convenience.

Since then, people have devised cuffs that inflate automatically. In many cases, microphones replaced the human ear and pressure sensors have replaced tubes of mercury – for more convenience, if not added reliability.

Scene 3 

1979. Skip the microphones.

Put on a cuff. Inflate the cuff automatically. Measure the oscillations of pressure sensed as the cuff deflates. An algorithm turns this waveform into an estimate of the mean arterial pressure (MAP). From that you can estimate the likely systolic and diastolic pressures.

These oscillometric cuffs are very popular for their relative convenience. One study found the variance to the gold standard ranged from1 to 26 mm Hg in a series of 337 consecutive patients. Around 20% of patients had a significant difference.

But these cuffs still aren’t convenient enough. Many people who own blood pressure cuffs don’t carry them where they go and don’t even use them often at home.

ACT 3 - Blood Pressure Uncuffed

2015. A networked digital and mobile revolution is underway. A new Enlightenment.

Multidisciplinary teams from around the planet are racing to turn science fiction into reality. Inspired by the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, hundreds of teams set out to create wireless, portable devices capable of diagnosing more than a dozen important health conditions.

It’s what FIRST Robotics would call a “coopetition.” Each team is competing to further a shared goal: radically accelerating the ability for people to be able to learn about their bodies anytime, anywhere.

Seven finalists remain, including entrants from the United States, Ireland, Canada, Taiwan, and India. Each team is taking its own approach to design, but the entire kit must be portable, user-friendly, and weigh less than 5 pounds. The winner will be announced in 2016.

At least one of the teams has developed a breakthrough way to take and track blood pressure without a cuff.

Touch the small device to your forehead, and the sophisticated sensor array delivers the results to your smartphone. It records the time and location automatically, along with anything else you want to add.

The mission is to become the last generation to know so little about our health. If people know their numbers in different situations, they can take charge and move toward the blood pressure they want. No matter which team wins the prize.

The World Health Organization has called high blood pressure the leading underlying cause of death in the world – even before the landmark 2015 study. Achieving a healthy blood pressure may be the best thing you can do to extend your heart health, your brain health, your sexual health and your life.

We’ve moved from using a scalpel blade to open an artery and connect a 9-foot glass tube with a tied-down body, all the way to an elegant consumer device that fits in a jeans pocket.

The history of blood pressure measurement is catching up with our need to know - at the same time we’re learning that it’s even more important to know than we thought.

Alan Greene, MD



NIH Press Release:

Blood-pressure in Medicine and Surgery: A Guide for Students and Practitioners by Edward Harris Goodman. Lea & Febiger. Philadelphia and New York. 1914.

Comparison of Automated Oscillometric Versus Auscultatory Blood Pressure Measurement. Landgraf J, Wishner SH, and Kloner RA. American Journal of Cardiology. Aug 2010. 106(3):386-388

A Short History of Blood Pressure Measurement. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. Nov 1977. 70(11):793-799. Royal Historical Society publication. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK. 2014.

London Zoo and the Victorians 1828-1859. By Takashi Ito.

The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE:

Deleted scenes:

Hales had been trying to estimate the force of the blood in the heart and the blood vessels for 25 years when he successfully used hydraulics in his Teddington, England experiments. He published his horse results, but achieved it in a dog first.

The discovery of blood pressure by Stephen Hales was more important that that of the circulation of blood by Harvey – The eminent physiologist Carl Ludwig.

The top celebrity in Paris of 1828 was not Poiseuille, of course, but a giraffe named Zaraf – the first giraffe in Europe since the 1400s. Every fashion from ladies’ dresses to men’s handkerchiefs was à la giraffe.

Torricelli had invented the mercury barometer to measure atmospheric pressure all the way back in 1646.  1 mm Hg was named 1 Torr in his honor. But no one used it to measure blood pressure, though, until Poiseuille in his dissertation titled Recherches sur la force du coeur aortique in 1828.



A week in the life of a young medical consumer company

September 11th, 2015

In 2013 we decided to appeal to the power of the crowd and ask for their help in making a consumer ‘tricorder’ called the Scanadu Scout™, which would enable people to start aggregating their own medical data in their own smartphone in their own cloud.  That Indiegogo campaign made history: it moved to action 8,600 backers from 72 different countries and broke the funding record at that time.

Scanadu Scout™ is the centerpiece of the largest consumer health study in human factors. Last week Scripps Translational Science Institute  reported that they closed enrollments and are studying how the use of an innovative vital sign monitor influences the emotions and decision-making process of device users.

What Indiegogo backers have participated in by using, testing, and sharing feedback about the device is unique and has never been done before on this scale for a medical device.  Scanadu now has the capability to record vital sign activity all over the world.  With every scan that is generated, the machine learns to be better, the databases get fuller, the correlations get richer and the supersets get stronger.

The device evolves almost biologically.  It grows into an adult version of itself with new iterations and continual improvements.  With the lessons learned from the investigational use of Scanadu Scout™ we are designing and building the next generation hardware iterations, which are already being tested.

We have made our formal engagement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) via a pre-submission application process.  We have received FDA guidance and will continue to interact until we reach market approval.

During the summer holidays Scanadu Inc. successfully completed all the requirements for ISO certification, meaning that we have successfully embraced the Quality Management System requirements expected by FDA as part of 21 CFR 820 Quality Systems Regulations (QSR) and the International Standards Organization ISO 13485 clearance.  Medical device and diagnostic companies are required to meet customer, regulatory and statutory requirements. Additionally, these requirements set quality expectations to govern the methods used in the marketing, sales, design, manufacturing, labeling, storage, installation, customer service, and distribution of all finished devices intended for human use to ensure that finished devices are safe and effective.

Yesterday Fast Company broke the news that The Branding Mind Behind The Obama Campaign Is Now Tackling Health Care At Tech Startup Scanadu.  Indeed Scott Thomas has become our Chief Creative Officer and relocated his Chicago team to Silicon Valley.  Scott lives by the idea that the simplest solution is usually the best one. He gained national prominence as the Design Director for the “Obama for America” campaign in 2008.

All of these important milestones lead us to focus more than ever on our vision and our mission: to make this the last generation that knows so little about our health.  And to do this as quickly as possible.

Scanadu team


Clinical Research: Rebuilt, Retooled and Rebooted

September 2nd, 2015

The traditionally conducted clinical trial model requires increasing amounts of time, cost, and resources for both sponsors and sites. In fact, fewer than 10% of clinical trials are completed on time  due to poor patient recruitment, retention and protracted budget negotiations. And since 2008 per-patient, clinical trial costs in the US have risen an average of 70% across all development phases.

In March 2015, however, Bloomberg Business reported “Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday 10 March to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced. ‘To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country’ said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. ‘That’s the power of the phone.’”


At Scanadu, data collection and clinical studies are key to the development and deployment of our medical devices, and we’re fully aware of the kind of scale and speed and power we’re talking about here. And as a startup developing the next generation of medical devices for consumers, we had to innovate the clinical study process, while bucking the traditional assumptions of how a clinical study should operate.

In May 2013, we launched the most successful crowdfunding campaign for a medical device on Indiegogo –The Scanadu Scout™ for investigational use - because we wanted to leverage this campaign and its platform to put together our FDA study. More than 8,500 people from 72 countries backed the Indiegogo campaign.

We partnered with Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) and, after cautious preparation, officially launched the SCOUT study for the investigational medical device in early 2015.

STSI is now conducting a completely mobile-based trial evaluating the impact of the Scanadu Scout, the first comprehensive, handheld, wireless device designed for personal use, measuring blood pressure, core body temperature, oxygen saturation and heart rate.  The aim of the study is to understand how the device modifies health behaviors in participants and to evaluate the ease of use and acceptance of the technology.


All platforms were HIPAA-compliant, all content was Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved and an electronic informed consent form (eICF ) was used. More than 75% of all backers based in the US signed up for the study, and in the latest survey more than 90% of them expressed that they would be willing to participate in such a study again.

Anyone who has enrolled in our study – or is currently using Research Kit in a study such as GlucoSuccess, Asthma Health, Parkinson mPower, or MyHeart Counts – will agree that using an eICF presents many opportunities and advantages for both sponsors and participants. With this new system we now have the ability to enhance a participant's understanding of the trial, to inform about changes to the study’s protocol, to allow for subjects to consent from remote locations with the use of an electronic signature, and make it easier (with appropriate pre-planning) to enroll non-English speaking subjects.

Using a HIPAA-compliant platform for the ICF process has eliminated major problems found on these forms including missing or incorrect signatures and dates or lack of verification that the subject received a copy. However, using this type of platform for eICFs did pose some hurdles. While this particular digital signature platform was user-friendly for the most part, not knowing all of the intricacies of sending the documents led to some confusion for some recipients. This contributed to a pause in enrollment for a few days and resending some ICFs to potential subjects. No system is completely flawless, and during enrollment, we found technical glitches that caused a change in expiration dates on the documents.

While this did not cause any compliance-related issues, the team had to manually close out any eICF document that was not signed by the enrollment end date. Also, because we used a platform that was not specifically designed for eICFs, sending out a revised version proved to be complicated. These challenges led to unanticipated increases to clinical resources/budget in order to manage and rectify the situation.

The online survey tool used in the study was seamlessly integrated into the process. Creation and distribution of surveys has proved effortless. Data is stored on a secure system, which is HIPAA-compliant and only accessible to the clinical team. Data collected from subjects also has audit trails. The data can be downloaded and analyzed in real time. This platform has been very useful in simplifying data collection and subject engagement.


The SCOUT study has an unprecedented enrollment rate for a medical device, and while there were challenges, this success is thanks to the transparency of the process, the incredible engagement from the participants, and the full use of what technology is allowing us to do today.

Access to information, knowledge and rapid development of technologies has an unparalleled impact on the progress of science. We imagine a world in which even more people participate in clinical trials like this one to further our understanding of our health and to improve life for the next generation.

Scanadu team

To learn more about our work, join us later this month at ”Transforming Medicine: Evidence-Driven mHealth” organized by STSI in San Diego on September 30th. Program includes our CEO and  founder Walter De Brouwer speaking about the Empowered Patient.

Scanadu Scout™ App Update 2.3.15

July, 30th 2015

Our record-breaking Indiegogo campaign that gave early access to the investigational Scanadu Scout™ is officially closed. We have shipped thousands of devices to supporters around the globe… and there’s a lot of scanning going on.

Users are scanning an average of about 4 times a day and are generating thousands of data points with each scan, which has already produced billions of data points...

Since deployment we have released several app updates on both the iOS App Store and Google Play to improve system performance and fix some minor bugs. The latest app update 2.3.15 includes two additional features embedded into the app. We have introduced the ability to see a pulse wave (PPG) while scanning, and are making sharing Scanadu Scout™ results fast and easy.

What is a PPG? (Photoplethysmogram) 


A PPG signal, also known as a ‘pulse wave’, uses optical sensors to measure oxygen saturation and blood flow in your body. PPG (Photoplethysmogram) works by shining light waves through your skin and analyzing  the changes in the light reflected from your blood vessels with each beat of your heart.

In the Scanadu Scout™ system, we combine PPG signals with signals from our other sensors, clean this raw data of noise, and apply our algorithms to then calculate your vital sign measurements in real time.

The PPG signal is a concept you may not come across every day, not even during doctor visits, but in the context of understanding the hidden working of your body using the Scanadu Scout™ - it’s an important signal to tap into.

Above, the PPG signal in orange and the ECG signal in yellow displayed while scanning.


We have also added a share button  for the ‘results’ and ‘trends’ screens. Now users can send Scanadu Scout™ vital sign readings via text message, email, Facebook, Twitter or any sharing app already installed on their phone. Of course it’s up to the users if they want to share their results; they own the data and should always decide what they want to do with it.

#Innovating while #complying

We’ve been sharing along this journey how #innovating while #complying may not be easy, but is both very exciting and important. In the coming weeks we will share more about this journey and how, with the robust remote technologies available today, including mobile health delivery systems, and remote sensor devices, powerful web-based clinical trials are becoming increasingly feasible.

We’d love to be able to distribute more Scanadu Scouts™ to those who are requesting devices, but as you know, we are still seeking FDA clearance for the Scanadu Scout™ and we must comply with the regulations. This includes IRB approvals for everything from our software updates to our emails to our backers who are participating in our study with Scripps Translational Science Institute.


In other news…We were at the Quantified Self Conference Expo day in Fort Mason San Francisco on June 20th. It was great to be there and meet with young and old, all with the same hunger for understanding and sharing each other’s health experiences.


Joining Forces

April 15th, 2015
We are very excited to share that we at Scanadu have Joined Forces with Zensor to form Team Scanadu/Intelesens in the quest for the $10 Million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, read more here.

Entering a new era of Citizen Health

April 6, 2015


Our CMO, Dr.Alan Greene, was at the Stanford Child X Conference last Friday and explains how we're living in the most exciting time in medicine. Changes are happening fast, and this brings people together to approach health in a new way - we're entering the era of Citizen Health.

Shipping Full Steam Ahead

February 20th, 2015


We're moving full steam ahead in shipping the Scanadu Scout™ investigational devices and expect the complete process will take several more weeks. A few thousands devices have been assembled, packaged and shipped already, and the cadence quickens each day. We have taken care of all costs for duties & taxes on our side, and as soon as you get the email from UPS (in USA) or DHL (outside USA) this indicates your device is en route to you!

We are already receiving a lot of feedback, as well as many ideas about how you see the future of the device and how you would like to manage your health. We can’t wait to have you all using the Scanadu Scout™ and sharing your experiences.

We're listening and have found a few notes to highlight:

- We currently support the following phones: iPhone 4s, 5, 5s running iOS 8 or newer, Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, and Nexus 4, 5. Many of you are already using the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but please be aware we are still in the process of validating those two models.

- Some Android phones are showing issues with the BLE connection and we have decided to extend the list of phones we will support. We can’t possibly support every Android phone model out there, but we can already confirm that we are expanding this list, please give a couple of weeks to get into it.

- Request for multiple profiles has been high, and indeed it is not implemented in the current app. Though it is technically possible, we can’t make it available at this point because the study linked to the investigational device is part of our regulatory framework. We will be making software updates as we are developing with full consideration of our backers requests and of the regulatory aspects for every feature we are adding.

- We have a large group of people who want to connect about how they see the future of their health monitoring using mobile technologies, and the concept of a Scanadu Forum has also been suggested, this is something we are currently looking into. Please stay tuned as we explore this idea.

There is a lot of scanning going on!  We continue to expand our database with every device that is used in the investigational study; all of this data is an essential component in improving the measurement accuracies for vital signs and will be the basis for improving our system performance.

For more information on how to use the device, please reference the Video Tutorial and User Guide. Here you will find instructions for setup, tips for scanning, basic troubleshooting, and device maintenance.

And, of course, our team can be always be reached by emailing

Scanadu Team


Shipping has begun

January 30th, 2015

Dear backers,

We have started shipping.

Untitled drawing (12)

We are excited to share this moment with you all, as we’ve been incredibly motivated by your fantastic support and patience.

This will be the last post we'll do on the Indiegogo platform. We’ll continue to share on our blog and we’ll also release updates via the apps. As we will no longer monitor on Indiegogo, please address your questions and comments to Please email your feedback too, as this is very valuable to us.  Also note that for privacy reasons, questions and comments related to the Consumer Health Study should be addressed privately via email to and to our team only and not on public platforms.

Here is a short but great tutorial video to help you get started with your Scanadu Scout.

Thank you for helping to make this the last generation to know so little about our health

Scanadu Team


The Final Stretch

January 16, 2015

After all the preparation for manufacturing and several successful qualification builds over the past few months, yesterday we released the manufacturing line and will start the production builds of your investigational Scanadu Scout™s early next week at our manufacturer in Fremont, California!

manufacturing (1)

We will start shipping in the last week of January, domestically and internationally. The shipping process will take a few weeks, and you’ll automatically receive a tracking number via email from UPS (domestic) or DHL (international) when your device is in route to you. We‘ve emailed everyone to confirm shipping addresses and thank you for your speedy responses :)

Next week, you’ll receive an email invitation with details on how to enroll into the Consumer Health Outcomes Study managed by Scripps Health in San Diego, California. As we noted in previous updates, this study is a part of our FDA roadmap and will be one of the largest consumer health studies of its kind in the world.

Scan screenshot jan 2015 blog (1)

The iOS app has been validated and submitted to the App Store. The Android version is in its final stage of validation, and we expect it to be finalized by next week. Both apps will be available in the AppStore and GooglePlay, respectively, by the time we start shipping the Scanadu Scout™ investigational devices.

Data collection has been and is still an essential part of our journey. We have collected huge amounts of data to feed our algorithms, and this will be an ongoing effort for our company. The last two months have been dedicated to the final verification and validation of the Scanadu Scout™ system for Indiegogo backers.

We have successfully completed the verification and validation on the vital signs that the Scanadu Scout™ measures in this investigational device, and are within the ranges and confidence limits we shared with the FDA, for:

Cuffless Blood Pressure / Systolic
Cuffless Blood Pressure / Diastolic
Clipless SpO2
Heart Rate

Throughout all our work, we have realized the importance of data collection. Knowledge starts with data.  Only then comes the observation of data, which leads to protocol, which leads us back to knowledge again.

We are both excited by our progress and humbled by the difficulties we have encountered in the process of bringing the Scanadu Scout™ to you. We faced challenges that have never been solved before - and are only possible today thanks to the intersection of science, technology and mathematics. Our team has a breadth and depth of capabilities in these domains, and overall your continuous support has been a great reminder that designing and building the new generation of medical devices is not happening in silos anymore, but as a unified effort.

Thank you.


The Scanadu Team

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” - TS Elliot

P.S. At this time, changing the color of your Scanadu Scout™ is no longer possible. For all other questions, contact us at


 December 12, 2014

January is looking good! 8,000+ Scanadu Scout™ investigational devices are well on their way towards shipping.  The apps are in the process of being submitted, data collection continues, hardware is ready, and firmware & algorithms are reaching the finishing line. Expect a few emails from us over the next few weeks to verify your shipping information.


As we are finishing the stress testing and app validation, we have already started the process of getting approval from Apple, which we expect to be complete in a few weeks.  We have submitted a hardware prototype to the Cupertino HQ and our app to the App store. As a note, it will not be publicly available right away, nor downloadable until we are closer to shipping.  We're doing this now because, as some of you may know, this process can take some time given the holidays.  The submission of the Android App to Google Play on the other hand takes very little time and will happen a few hours before we start shipping


We continue to collect data to refine our solutions. Our biggest challenge has become our biggest opportunity: we have collected over 40,000 vital sign measurements!   This week we continue to collect hypoxia data in Colorado and fever data in Europe, but capturing fever data has been challenging.  Modern medicine is getting so efficient that by the time we arrive on the scene for a scan, the patient is fever-free.  However, we do have our first dataset of febrile information, and will collect more while we are shipping.


With this, we are now validating the algorithms responsible for the measurements for the Scanadu Scout™ investigational devices. Cuffless Blood Pressure (non-oscillometric method of non-invasive BP which we refer to as ni-BP) and Heart Rate are finalized. We are very close to finishing validation of SPo2 (PPG, photoplethysmogram for pulse oximetry) and core body temperature.


Screenshot of scan results.


Our manufacturing team has taken their battle stations and are ready to start building since the new hardware is done! Right now, we’re focused on software completion (final integration, testing, validation etc...).

FullSizeRender (2)

The new finalized hardware.

We’re also working on shipping plans and preparing the special experiences for different perk levels. As part of this, during this holiday period we need to verify the shipping address information of backers and re-launch the signing of the Informed Consent for the study at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. So stay tuned backers, you’ll be receiving some emails from us soon.

Happy Holidays!  Here’s to a healthy New Year from our team to you.

Scanadu Team

Good News

November 14th, 2014

Our gap of temporal specificity is closing rapidly and the shipping ecosystem is preparing to reboot. We are on track to initiate shipping by the end of January :)

Starting in December, we will contact backers to verify shipping addresses and make sure that all informed consent forms are signed (as this is an investigational device prior to FDA clearance). Please note that it is no longer possible at this point to change your choice of color.

Thanks to the huge collection of data and time spent in testing, our Machine Learning group has made our algorithms fitter and faster everyday. We are getting our SDs  (standard deviations), MAE’s (Mean Absolute Error) and RMSE (Root Mean Squared Error) in the application in closer and closer agreement with the algorithm. With our decision to submit for FDA clearance, we knew that giving life to the Scanadu Scout™ investigational device would be a complex and challenging path. We are increasingly confident as the readings are reaching the level of accuracy that we had informed the Food and Drug Administration Agency will apply to our investigational device.

Both our Android and iOS apps are undergoing internal pre-validation testing and evaluation. We will soon be entering more formal validation and stress testing.  While we were solving hardware and software issues, we took advantage of the opportunity to fully prepare the Scanadu Scout app for iOS 8. Of course new features will be pushed via updates in the future.

iPhone and Android versions of the app.

Our biggest challenge has been ‘data’.  We needed a lot of patient data for each of the vital signs. The fact that we're doing multiple measurements in parallel has made data collection complex.   To help, we have extended our protocols for partnerships for clinical testing and data collection with medical facilities outside the Bay Area. Our clinical teams went onsite to train partner teams in several locations, even one outside the US.  Since then thousands of data points are regularly flowing into our systems.  There are about 540,000 raw data points per scan totaling  about 1 megabyte, which is much more than many commonly used electronic devices.  The good news about this huge amount of data collected with our new partners is that it’s helping us go faster in validating all of our vital sign results.


Our clinical research team training our new partners.

Once the Scanadu Scout™ is in your hands we will all work together to test and evaluate it, increase the accuracy of the medical investigational prototype towards a clinical prototype, and add or delete new features, which we can push through firmware updates.

In addition to the Scanadu Scout™ we have other products in our pipeline at Scanadu, as you may know.  We are preparing a suite of products that work with vital fluids.  These are disposable, and will interact with your vital sign readings.  The first of these is the urinalysis called Scanaflo which is due to go through clinical trials and FDA in early 2015.

Thanks for having been on our side, sharing our enthusiasm, for the grace with which you received the news of our delays, and helping us collect vital sign data by participating in the Scanathons.


Scanadu Team

Scanadu Takes the Stage at WSJ.D Live

October 31, 2014

Reducing barriers to access for consumer health information will certainly have far-reaching impacts on the medical system, empowering individuals with tools to monitor and manage pre-symptomatic disease. The individual will be the core of the medical experience, pulling together once-disparate silos of clinical, environmental, emotional, and wellness data (among many more). This is a critical step in the path to building a true healthcare system out of the multitude of isolated pieces of our current "sick-care" system, which only registers you as soon as something is going very wrong.

The Scanadu Scout™ is a bold step forward in this movement: for the first time giving consumers a simple and elegant means of extracting and understanding their vital signs - literally what makes you tick! But external sensors can only take you so far. If you truly want to know yourself, you have to take a dip into the fluids. That's why we're excited to give you a glimpse of ScanaFlo™.

ScanaFlo™ is a urinalysis system that is designed to enable consumers to collect valuable information about their liver, kidneys, urinary tract, and metabolism.  Urinalysis has been performed for centuries, however technology has advanced tremendously since our first recognition of the diagnostic value of urine, and ScanaFlo™ now brings urinalysis into the 21st century. We have developed a smartphone application to guide users through the full process from sample collection to results - with additional tools to help them understand what the data means, and to share results with their doctor to enable richer conversations.

We were honored to be invited to demo both the Scanadu Scout™ and ScanaFlo™ at the inaugural WSJ.D Live conference earlier this week. Check out the video here.

We’re excited to soon bring the Scanadu Scout™ and ScanaFlo™ through the regulatory process and ultimately into consumer's hands. So, every individual will be able to take one more step towards truly knowing themselves.  Stay tuned!


Scanadu Team


October 10th, 2014

Vital sign collection, testing of our hardware solution, and finalization of the UI for the app are going well. We are still collecting great amounts of data and are continuously improving the training of our algorithms.

We are working towards resuming shipping early this winter, and are currently in preparation for manufacturing.


Bob, Scanadu’s  Manufacturing Director, and Sam, our co-founder, at our manufacturing  partner  in Fremont, California.

More than 8,000 Scouts will go out this winter to Indiegogo backers around the world, and we are committed to meet robust quality, reliability and performance standards.  To ensure the delivery timing and Scout robustness, below are a few examples of the actions currently underway as we approach our volume production build:

Rolling Builds

Across the extended operations organization, we have “rolling builds” which means making small to medium-sized batches of the complete Scanadu Scout™; our very own “Build-a-thons”.   Every two weeks we are planning, building, and carefully examining the results in our engineering labs and at our manufacturing partners in Fremont, California.  The quantity increases with every new build and will transition later this Autumn to the full 8,000 plus unit build.


Board assembly tester which includes all the sensors, firmware and software.

Linkage Analysis

In our process quality plan, we are refining and reinforcing our focus on the product specification's features. Each assembly step contributes to the final device performance which is critical to our backers.  Behind this quality control plan is an in-depth analysis – or “linkage analysis”- linking the features to the specific aspects of incoming materials, the assembly steps, and the final investigational devices coming off the production line. We’re ensuring rigorous testing of the device’s electronics and optical sub-systems before final assembly in the Scanadu Scout™ enclosure.

Environmental Testing

Finally, samples of both critical sub-assemblies (system electronics) and completed Scanadu Scouts™ have been tested under extreme environmental conditions resulting in accelerated aging in order to reveal any areas needing attention or improvement.  Environmental testing was continued for a week, tests are a) damp heat – 85°C and 85% relative humidity – and b) temperature cycling, repeatedly alternating between -40°C and +90°C for 100 cycles. Measurements before and after have shown no failures or change in the values of the vital sign readings!

These are just a few of the many activities underway to ready the Scanadu Scout™ investigational devices to come off the assembly line.   Things are moving forward in an exciting way, and we expect our delivery timelines by the next update.

On another note, next weekend NASA Ames - where our company is based - is opening its doors to the public for the first time in over 17 years for their 75th Anniversary Open House. We have accepted NASA’s invitation to be part of this exceptional day, and our teams will be present to showcase our work to the public as they pass through the campus.


NASA Ames Research Park

The event is sold out with more than 120,000 visitors but we’ve been able to snag 10 extra invitations for our backers only! Let us know via if you’d like to come!

Of course, if waiting is not an option you can email us at

Thank you!

Scanadu Team

The Beat Goes On

 September 12th, 2014

Our Scanadu team continues to be hard at work. Hardware modifications and an aggressive schedule of data collection is helping us improve the quality of our readings, and we’re on track with our internal planning for testing and validation. We are continuing to gather more data to train our algorithms and validate our latest results. We’re also working on the manufacturability of our new prototype, a key requirement for us to resume shipping.


The last Scanathon with our Indiegogo backers was oversubscribed and took place on August 11th, 12th and 13th. A number of participants brought partners and family members to see what we are working on - check out the photo album on our Facebook page. After testing the new prototype, participants were brought to another testing area to evaluate our mobile app with our UI team. The feedback we received on the app interface was tremendously valuable and highly consistent, and our design team has already  incorporated much of this in an updated version of our app.

We’re holding another Scanathon for our backers on September 19th. If you’re interested fill out this form to receive a formal invitation. Many of our backers who came to the previous events have registered again so we only have a few slots left! Your vital sign data will be used to further validate our tests and you’ll have a chance to review the updated app for iPhone and Android.

If you can’t make this Scanathon event, NASA Ames is opening its doors to the public (for the first time in over 17 years) for its 75th Anniversary Open House on October 18th. The Scanadu team will be present to meet and greet you all, join us then!

One more thing.. the XPRIZE!

As you may have heard, we have been selected as one as the final 10 teams for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. This is a big achievement for our team. You can read all about it here in our blog post. We’d like to take a minute to explain the difference between our work on the XPRIZE, and our work for the investigational device for Indiegogo. Work on both initiatives, and everything coming out of the Scanadu labs, is in service of our mission of making this the last generation to know so little about our health.  And while both the investigational device for Indiegogo and the XPRIZE carry the spirit of the Tricorder and the advancement of digital health, the product features and physical forms are intended for very different use cases. The XPRIZE aims to diagnose more than 15 conditions through vital signs, blood, saliva, fluidics analysis and more, while the Scanadu Scout™ is built specifically for capturing vital signs digitally. We have dedicated teams working on both efforts, but rest assured, the Scanadu Scout™ remains our top priority.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support!  If waiting is not an option please reach out to our team at


Scanadu Team



To boldly go where no one has gone before… @XPRIZE

$10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Competition

August 27, 2014

Scanadu is proud to share that it has been selected as one of the Final 10 teams for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, a 3.5-year global competition for teams to develop a consumer-focused, mobile device capable of diagnosing and interpreting a set of 15 medical conditions and the absence of disease,  plus capturing five vital health metrics. The field has narrowed over the course of the competition from 255 in 2012 to 34 in 2013 to the 10 finalist teams announced today.  As part of the final round, teams will compete in both diagnostic experience evaluations and consumer testing, slated for mid-to-late 2015. The final judging and awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in early 2016.

Here’s an inside look at what it takes to get to the top:

16 Health Conditions:  The devices are expected to accurately diagnose 16 health conditions – 12 required core conditions plus the absence of disease and a choice of three elective conditions – in addition to capturing five real-time health vital signs, independent of a healthcare worker or facility, and in a way that provides a compelling consumer experience.

13 Required Core Health Conditions: Anemia, Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes, Hepatitis A, Leukocytosis, Pneumonia, Otitis Media, Sleep Apnea, Stroke, Tuberculosis, Urinary Tract Infection, and absence of condition.

3 Elective Health Conditions (Choice of 3): Allergens (airborne), Cholesterol Screen, Food-borne Illness, HIV Screen, Hypertension, Hypothyroidism/Hyperthyroidism, Melanoma, Mononucleosis, Osteoporosis, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Shingles, Strep Throat.

5 Required Health Vital Signs: Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Oxygen Saturation, Respiratory Rate, Temperature.

Consumers Only:  This diagnosis must be performed in the hands of a consumer, independently of a healthcare worker or facility.

Scanadu’s journey to build a medical tricorder started in 2011 in San Francisco, CA.  Just a few months later at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE was launched. The Scanadu team was elated - our vision had earned new recognition in the industry.

This announcement was vital for Scanadu for several reasons:

* It indicated that time had come to build what was once considered a mythical device

* XPRIZE had licensed the name Tricorder™ from CBS, so the members of the race could use it

* XPRIZE had sought the advice and support of the FDA so that the agency was involved in the proof of concept of the investigational prototype from the start

* XPRIZE was going to source the best minds in the world to build this together.  A sort of modern-day, distributed, Manhattan project for mobile medicine.

XPRIZE expects participants to push the envelope beyond where any institution has ever gone before.  Nearly every condition requires revolutionary technology to be developed, from the fluidic handling to the sensors to the user interaction.

This is a groundbreaking competition that cannot be won by one team alone.  XPRIZE has created a marketplace that has now been pruned to the last 10 teams, three of which will win a prize: First Place $7M, Second Place $2M and Third Place $1M.  Together, some of the brightest minds in the industry are working to develop a scientific breakthrough that has the potential to change healthcare as we know it. Winning cannot be done alone, and we are honored to be part of the journey thus far.

Thanks to all of our supporters along the way. To be continued...

Scanadu Team


Note: The Tricorder being developed for XPRIZE is technically different and therefore separate from the investigational device being developed for Indiegogo backers.

Making Headway with the Scanadu Scout™

August 8, 2014

Dear Indiegogo Backers,

Since our last update, we’ve been focused on working through the technical issues with the Scanadu Scout™ investigational devices. We know many of you are hungry for an update on what’s been happening at Scanadu HQ. We’d like to share with you some color on our quest to bring the Scanadu Scout™ to life and put it in your hands.

RECAP: Diagnosing the Issues

The Scanadu Scout™ was originally set to ship in March, however in April, we had to pause shipment because the units that rolled out of manufacturing did not meet our standards of accuracy. To diagnose the situation, we pulled out all of the guts of the device – the sensors, the interconnects, the components – to identify the exact sources of the problems. We had some assumptions, but needed to test each detail to be sure.

We invited you to our headquarters to donate data in May and reported our initial results from the Scanathons in June. We were excited to meet with so many of you! As we mentioned in our latest blog post in July, finding the ultimate solution would require a significant amount of work and testing. Thanks to the participation and the data from many of you, we were able to confirm most of our suspicions about what was wrong.

It turned out that some last minute design decisions earlier this year about the placement of the sensors resulted in them being moved by a few millimeters (particularly the temperature and SPO2 sensors). That very small decision had significant impact in corrupting a lot of the raw sensor data. Because the raw sensor data is the essence – the life blood – of the device, it polluted the entire system.

Here’s more detail:

TECHNICAL UPDATE: Straight from the Workbench 


In the original version, accuracy of temperature measurements was affected by heat transfer between the electrocardiogram (ECG) electrode and the skin in cases when, just before the scan, the ECG electrode had been exposed to temperature levels significantly deviating from room temperature.

Several possible solutions to this problem were identified and each of these has been built as a “prototype” and is being tested for performance, accuracy, repeatability and manufacturability.


Above,  Printed Circuit Board (PCB) variations being used for performance, accuracy, repeatability and manufacturability testing and evaluation.

We continue to make significant progress towards collection of a larger volume of data to support the training of our temperature algorithm and detailed validation of the temperature sub-system. The Scanadu clinical team has identified a location for additional data collection, where we will initially focus on gathering data over a wider temperature range.


Our March build of Scanadu Scout™ also suffered from parasitic light reflections around the photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor (because of the last minute design change we mentioned above). These reflections were caused by a flaw in the optical design and led to corruption of the PPG signals. These PPG signals also affect three other measurements including: blood pressure, SpO2 level and pulse rate.

In order to ensure that we completely understood the problem and had a definitive solution, we decoupled the hardware development from algorithm development. We made a prototype with PPG sensors exposed outside of the device and exposed the sensors directly to the skin, using this for collection of raw data signals on a large group of individuals. Reference levels of the vital signs were also measured. The data was collected in a number of Scanathon sessions as well as in the Hypoxia lab in San Francisco (to test SpO2). This gave us very clean sensor signals paired with the corresponding reference levels, which allowed development of revised blood pressure and SpO2 algorithms.

Below is the original version of the acrylic window on the left and a potential new solution on the right.

Blood Pressure

Our blood pressure algorithm relies on features found in the electrocardiogram (ECG) and photoplethysmography (PPG) signals. For instance, one such feature - Pulse Wave Transit Time - is a measure of time between contractions of the heart, identified from the R-wave of the ECG and the peaks of the peripheral pulse waves in the PPG.

Those signals are processed to remove noise and artifacts (or filtering). We had to redesign our PPG sensor and retrain the algorithms coming from those features extractions coming from both the ECG and PPG.

We are continuing testing and validating our algorithms and the quality of our readings with help from recent and upcoming Scanathons.

NEXT STEPS: Test, Test and Test Again

We are inviting our backers to come back to our headquarters and help us do more data collection to further verify our solutions (and to help us train our updated algorithms). Our next data collection is planned for Monday and Tuesday of next week. We‘re practically full because many of the backers who participated in previous Scanathons are returning, but there are a few spots still open: please register here to receive the formal invitation.

Our design team was ready with both iOS and Android apps last March but have taken advantage of the delay to further enhance the user experience and implement version 2 of the App. During our upcoming Scanathon we’ll ask our backers to test our new app on iOS as well as on Android devices.

Here’s a sneak peak of the second version of the app:


We still cannot give a definitive ship date - but we have developed potential solutions for the problems we have encountered and have an aggressive schedule for data collection, testing and validation.  We are determined and hope to resume shipping of the investigational devices before the end of the year. Of course if you prefer not to wait, we are happy to return your donation if you email a request directly to

This has been an incredibly hard journey. We are putting our blood, sweat and tears (not to mention our vitals) into rigorously testing our solutions so we can deliver to you.

Thank you for your continued patience and support. If you have any additional questions, contact us at


Team Scanadu