Themis Prodromakis of the University of Southampton and Philip King of Newbury Electronics are developing a Star-Trek-like tricorder

Star Trek-like diagnostic tool to be developed for NHS

A diagnostic device resembling Star Trek’s tricorder providing patients and doctors with immediate results is being developed by British researchers as part of a three-year project.

The hand-held device, developed by Southampton University researchers in collaboration with the Imperial College Healthcare NHS and Newbury Electronics, could be used to scan patients’ bodies remotely and doesn’t require taking body fluid or tissue samples. It would enable healthcare professionals to monitor patients’ conditions more efficiently without having to wait for laboratories to perform analysis.

The technology relies on electronic components such as chemical sensors and printed circuit boards.

"A project of this nature is the perfect illustration of how academia, manufacturing and the end user can come together to pool their knowledge and experience to make a real and valuable change,” said Themis Prodromakis, a reader in Nanoelectronics and EPSRC Fellow at the University of Southampton. “There is a real opportunity for this new diagnostic tool to make a tangible difference to healthcare not only in the UK but in international markets as well."

Clinical trials will be carried out at the Department of Infection and Immunity at Imperial College Healthcare NHS while Newbury Electronics will contribute with its knowledge of manufacturing techniques and materials.

The project has been awarded a £1m grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The team hopes to deliver first prototypes for initial testing by next year.

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