As a person who loves Star Trek I am always somewhat pleased when the sci-fi technology of the show steps into the realm of reality. Today the technology being brought to fruition is the tricorder.  If you remember the tricorder was used for everything from reading atmospheric conditions to diagnosing illness. And behold, scientists from the University of Southampton, England are in the midst of developing a non-invasive and portable handheld testing device to provide same day diagnosis from a patient’s bedside.

What they are hoping is that the device could replace the current conventional diagnostic methods, which can be long and limited in scope. Cost alone with today’s technology prohibits frequent and ongoing monitoring of disease progression. The hypothesis is that the hand held device, using an infinitesimal amount of blood, could diagnose everything from HIV to Cancer in just minutes. And of course they intend to have it plug into an Iphone…yeah there’s an app for that.

According to lead researcher Dr Themis Prodromakis, will develop hybrid technology using electronic components as chemical sensors on printed circuit boards (PCBs). The device can carry out diagnosis on the same day and at the point-of-care – potentially avoiding the need to send protein samples away to laboratories for chemical assessment and diagnosis.

Consequently, the new device could lead to public health benefits in reducing the time to treatment and reducing costs in both diagnosis and late-diagnosis treatments.

Under a 1 million dollar project grant developers expect prototypes are expected to be ready for testing next year.  Once in mass production the cost of this chip should be just under $70.00 US.