With the way technology is heading, it's a certainty that we'll have a gadget akin to the medical tricorders in Star Trek in the near future - particularly when similar devices like Jansen's Tricorder and the Scanadu are in development right now. But while a device for automatically diagnosing patients would be undoubtedly useful, some people worry that this could have an adverse effect on doctor-patient relationships. When a doctor only needs a to use a machine to scan a person like an item at the grocery store, it seems like the human element of medicine could be lost. That's part of the reason a group of graduate students created the Glove Tricorder, which equips a doctor's hand with numerous sensors to augment the typical physical exam.

The glove was created as part of a graduate studies project at Singularity University by engineering students, Elishai Ezra and Fransiska Hadiwidjana, along with Harvard medical student, Andrew Bishara. Med Sensation, the name of their project, started out with the goal of enhancing a doctor's routine exam with advanced diagnostic technology, while still maintaining the usual hands-on approach that makes patients more comfortable.

To make the Glove Tricorder, the team fitted a partial glove with sensors for detecting vibrations, sound, temperature, force, and movement. When a doctor runs his hand over a patient's body, data is collected from sensors on the palm and fingers, which is then transmitted wirelessly to a separate device to be analyzed. A buzzer on the glove will also alert a doctor if he is applying too much pressure on the tissue being examined or if it detects something particularly troublesome. Depending on which area of the body is scanned, the data could provide a wealth of information for a doctor to form an accurate diagnosis much faster. Its combination of sensors is said to be capable of detecting all kinds of internal problems from breast cancer to heart valve irregularities.

Med Sensation is currently on the second prototype for the glove, but plans to add more sensors, including ultrasound, as well as adapt the device so it can be used with simple latex gloves. Ultimately, the group hopes to develop a consumer version of the Glove Tricorder that doesn't require a physician for an accurate diagnosis. This way, the glove could become a useful tool for basic medical needs from assessing sports injuries in the middle of a game to performing quick check ups at home.

In the video below, the team demonstrates how the Glove Tricorder gathers data and shares their ideas for the device's future.

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