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This weird 'MouthLab' is like a check engine light for humans

This weird 'MouthLab' is like a check engine light for humans
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

In "Star Trek," they have this one gadget that can diagnose almost any health problem. Here in real life, we're working on that, too. It's called "MouthLab," and it's like an entire lab in one tiny device.

The doctors and engineers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine were inspired by the Tricorder in "Star Trek," and used that inspiration to create the MouthLab, which takes vital signs from lips or fingertips. The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence science website reports that the device can measure heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and blood oxygen.

The MouthLab can be used by anyone, and its applications are expanding beyond the basics. It should eventually be able to detect serious health conditions by testing blood, saliva and breath, and even monitor blood sugar for diabetics. This illustration is from Gene Y. Fridman, et al., in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, where the doctors and engineers first published their abstract for the device.

MouthLab

Fridman, the lead engineer on the project, told Accelerating Intelligence, "Our final version will be smaller, more ergonomic, more user-friendly and faster. Our goal is to obtain all vital signs in under 10 seconds." Pretty cool, huh? And they even made its parts with a 3-D printer!

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