Watching Star Trek, most of the show's devotees wished they could likewise say "Beam me up, Scotty," and then — thanks to the transporter, a fictional teleportation device — instantly reappear in another location. We'll have to wait for that invention, but another medical device that appeared on Star Trek — the tricorder, which noninvasively scanned living matter to collect health information — is already a reality and in use worldwide.

That the future is here with a state-of-the-art version of the tricorder is due to a highly innovative medical device company, Caliber Imaging & Diagnostics (Caliber I.D.). Based in Boston and Rochester, it is a leader in noninvasive optical biopsies — i.e., its technology can capture high-resolution images providing doctors with cellular views at varying depths under the skin, enabling an accurate real-time diagnosis. Caliber I.D. has created and is already marketing a suite of its FDA-cleared devices, known as VivaScope confocal imaging systems. Enthusiastic users include prestigious hospitals and many other leading academic institutions, private physicians' practices and Fortune 500 companies.

Since there is no cutting involved with VivaScope, there is also no possibility of infection or scarring. Obtaining an image takes just a few minutes so the doctor can make a determination at the bedside, or the image can be transferred within only seconds through the company's VivaNet® system, so that a pathologist can diagnose it remotely.

Too good to be true? Nope! VivaScope devices are FDA-cleared and are already in use in private medical practices, hospitals, clinics, research laboratories throughout the U.S. and in Europe, China, Japan, Australia, Canada and Brazil.

The ability to identify signs of skin cancer and other skin-related diseases without the need for invasive surgery has come at the perfect time. Today clinical diagnosis of skin disease and the decision to biopsy or not is most often performed by eye. Since the eye is fallible, some skin cancers can be overlooked, while conversely, a benign mole might be unnecessarily biopsied. In fact, nearly 80 percent of all skin biopsy performed in primary care is benign, according to an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Meanwhile, a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that one out of five Americans will develop skin cancers. 

"Our technology can image down into living tissue, layer by layer, to help physicians diagnose a variety of skin diseases and disorders at the point of care," notes Caliber I.D.'s CEO, L. Michael Hone.

For the patient, the advantages are abundantly clear. For the physician, whether in private practice or hospital-based, significant benefits include the ability to attract new patients and provide treatment quickly, and best of all — improved clinical diagnosis, with no cutting necessary!

Pretty neat, wouldn't you say, Captain Kirk?

For more about the VivaScope and the company behind it, visit