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Most Star Trek fans have heard of the tricorder which can gather health information by simply scanning living matter. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, this Star Trek device has become a reality.

The handheld VivaScope is an FDA cleared device that uses 3 lasers to capture high-resolution images of live cells in real time. The lasers go through the skin and display cells at different depth levels. Because it is a kind of “scanner,” it is noninvasive and therefore does not allow for the risk of infection or scarring unlike skin biopsies. Also unlike biopsies, for which results can take up to 2 weeks to receive, the VivaScope can scan a skin lesion within minutes and immediately provide a physician with necessary information.

Generally, clinicians detect skin cancer by visually examining a lesion and deciding whether a biopsy needs to be performed. However, this method is extremely inaccurate. Some skin cancers can be overlooked and about 80% that are biopsied are actually benign. The VivaScope can effortlessly help many physicians diagnose a variety of skin diseases. Captain Kirk would be impressed!

Think About:

1. Where else can this technology be used?
2. Why is the VivaScope not covered by insurance?

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