MouthLab: A Tricorder Concept Optimized for Rapid Medical Assessment


The goal of rapid medical assessment (RMA) is to estimate the general health of a patient during an emergency room or a doctor’s office visit, or even while the patient is at home. Currently the devices used during RMA are typically “all-in-one” vital signs monitors. They require time, effort and expertise to attach various sensors to the body. A device optimized for RMA should instead require little effort or expertise to operate and be able to rapidly obtain and consolidate as much information as possible. MouthLab is a battery powered hand-held device intended to acquire and evaluate many measurements such as non-invasive blood sugar, saliva and respiratory biochemistry. Our initial prototype acquires standard vital signs: pulse rate (PR), breathing rate (BR), temperature (T), blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), blood pressure (BP), and a three-lead electrocardiogram. In our clinical study we tested the device performance against the measurements obtained with a standard patient monitor. 52 people participated in the study. The measurement errors were as follows: PR: −1.7 ± 3.5 BPM, BR: 0.4 ± 2.4 BPM, T: −0.4 ± 1.24 °F, SpO2: −0.6 ± 1.7%. BP systolic: −1.8 ± 12 mmHg, BP diastolic: 0.6 ± 8 mmHg. We have shown that RMA can be easily performed non-invasively by patients with no prior training.

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We thank Sunny Smith, Charles Della Santina, and Lani Swarthout for material support, helpful discussions, and contribution to the logistics associated with prototype development and human studies. We thank Divya Kernik, Lucas Fridman, and Alexandra Della Santina for their contribution to the early prototype designs.

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Correspondence to Gene Y. Fridman.

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Associate Editor James Tunnell oversaw the review of this article.

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Fridman, G.Y., Tang, H., Feller-Kopman, D. et al. MouthLab: A Tricorder Concept Optimized for Rapid Medical Assessment. Ann Biomed Eng 43, 2175–2184 (2015).

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  • Tricorder
  • Vital signs monitoring
  • Medical assessment