Belgian firm Scanadu has raised US$2 million in venture backing as it develops its device called the Tricorder (pictured) which wirelessly syncs with a user’s smartphone to test vital signs including blood pressure and temperature. The device either presents a diagnosis or transfers the information to a user’s physician. The first generation of the Tricorder is aimed at parents with young children. The US$2 million comes from a group of angel investors including Sebastien De Halleux, co-founder of social games developer Playfish.

Scanadu plans to add more features to the Tricorder including a hyper-spectral camera for analysing rashes and infections, as well as the capability for testing blood and saliva. The firm is in the process of moving its headquarters from Belgium to Silicon Valley and hiring more staff. Scanadu, which was founded in January 2011 by entrepreneur Walter De Brouwer, talks up the potential savings for hospitals if self- diagnosis could reduce the number of unnecessary visits to emergency rooms.