Thermometers are a great tool when a loved one is ill – you can take an accurate temperature reading and treat them accordingly. Of course, that is where the benefits of the thermometer end… until now. Welcome the next generation of thermometer.

The smart thermometer from Kinsa can help you diagnose exactly what is wrong, and recommend a course of action. It is like a full diagnostic device in the palm of your hand (is anyone else thinking of Star Trek?).

How does it work? You have to plug the thermometer into your smartphone and use it in connection with the appropriate app. Right now it is only available for iPhone users, but Android users should be on the lookout for an app in the near future.

An accurate temperature will appear on the phone screen, but that’s just the beginning of the benefits that come from the smart thermometer. You can set up a profile for each member of the household and track symptoms over a period of time. This is information that can be useful to physicians, in a format that is easily transferable to your healthcare provider electronically.

Once the app knows your symptoms it will make recommendations – it may tell you how to treat your symptoms, or even other related symptoms to keep an eye out for that might mean your condition is worsening. You can then access public health records and see what has been going on in your area. How long are you going to be sick? Are you still contagious? Future updates are supposed to include this kind of predictive information based on your symptoms.

So where can you get one? Nowhere yet, but if the makers can raise enough money they are hoping to release it as soon as possible. A $25 donation puts you on the list for the initial production. Head over to Indiegogo to make your pledge today.