A British hospital has unveiled a sickbay that uses space-age technology to diagnose diseases ranging from stomach bugs to cancer.
The first of its kind, it contains a bewildering array of equipment, including probes designed for missions to Mars.
The gadgets in the million-pound unit can detect illness without the need for painful and invasive tests. They combine information about the sight, smell and “feel” of a disease to produce a diagnosis.
The unit is described as the first step towards the tricorder scanners that Star Trek’s Dr McCoy waved in front of patients’ bodies to diagnose and treat illness in the crew of the Starship Enterprise.
“In the old days, it used to be said that a consultant could walk down a hospital ward and smell various diseases, as well as telling a patient’s health by looking at them and feeling their pulse,” the Daily Mail quoted Professor Mark Sims, the Leicester University space scientist who led the project alongside Tim Coats, a professor of emergency medicine, as saying.
“What we are doing is a high-tech version of that to help doctors diagnose the disease.
“We are replacing doctors’ eyes with state-of-the-art imaging systems, replacing the nose with breath analysis, and the “feel of the pulse” with monitoring of blood flow using ultrasound technology and measurement of blood oxygen levels,” Sims added.