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It certainly sounds something straight out of Star Trek, but believe it or not, this scanner is reality. The scanner is able to detect if a patient is healthy or not just by pointing it at the skin.

Development on the scanner was carried out over a period of five years by a group lead by one professor Jürgen Lademann of the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergy of the Charité-University Medicine in Berlin.

The device is being tested right now on a group of 19-year-old students. Read their report here.

How does the device work?

The device works by reflecting a beam of light off your skin and analyzing the wavelengths reflected back into the device. The information that processed is able to work out the anti-oxidant levels in your skin.

So just point the device at your skin, wait three minutes and the device will tell you how healthy you are from a scale of one to ten (worst to best).

Before the invention of this device, the only way for doctors to get the same type of readings was to get tissue samples and process them. We’ve certainly come a long way from that.

According to the researchers, the anti-oxidant level in your skin is pretty telling. It can indicate your overall body health because it is affected by stress, smoking, alcohol drinking, unhealthy food, lack of sleep and UV radiation. During the trial, they were even able to detect changes in diet and smoking habits.

One thing the scanner is not designed for is to detect any specific disease. It is only for detecting your overall health level. It will be available soon for US$280 in Europe.

It’s definitely interesting to have a device that works like a video game. Point, shoot, improve accordingly. I would certainly use one, but at its current cost I think I’ll just keep an eye on my health the old fashioned way.