18-08 Segment 2: A Real-Life Star Trek Tricorder

Most people have seen sci-fi shows and films like Star Wars and Star Trek, and been amused by the imagined technology used by these beings. Dr. Basil Harris, emergency physician at Lankenau Medical Center and founder of Final Frontier Medical Devices, took this inspiration one step further by actually creating one of these devices. His machine called DxtER is similar to the Tricorder from Star Trek; it is a non-invasive remote medical diagnostic technology.

With this device, patients are given a whole new way to measure their health. Part of the appeal of DxtER is the non-invasiveness of the technology. Dr. Basil explains that the iPad based technology is packed with sensors that can measure vitals in the body, like blood pressure, without having to use a cuff or other external objects to test the patient. Not only is the device capable of picking up on vitals, it can also provide the user with a diagnosis based off of their symptoms. It uses artificial intelligence in order to incorporate the doctor into the system.

However, Dr. Harris does not believe that the device calls for the elimination of doctors entirely. He explains that DxtER was created as a tool that can help people work with their providers more efficiently. But before this device can be made common in household first aid kits, it must be FDA approved which Dr. Harris expects to be a slow process that could take from five to ten years. With many emerging technologies in healthcare, devices like DxtER must work to gain the trust of the public.


  • Dr. Basil Harris, emergency physician at Lankenau Medical Center and founder of Final Frontier Medical Devices

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