The Tricorder is an all-purpose medical device from Star Trek that has inspired generations of fans and real technicians to strive for its medical practicality. The ability to instantly diagnose a patient seemed almost magical when it was first introduced to viewers 50 years ago, but as we often see, sci-fi of the past becomes the reality of the present, and the Tricorder may now be within our grasp.
With more than 300 teams vying for the non-profit XPRIZE Foundation’s Qualcomm-funded X-Prize, one team emerged successful in their endeavor with the creation of DxtER. Final Frontier Medical Devices – a family-led team from Pennsylvania – won the $2.6 million prize to complete their objective.
The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition’s objective was to create a lightweight, non-invasive handheld device that can identify 13 health conditions (12 diseases, and the absence of disease) in 90 minutes to 24 hours with no counsel from medical professionals. Five vital health metrics, like heartbeat and respiratory function, were also required to be constantly monitored. In the end, they chose based on the frequency of the disease and availability of subjects based, at least in part, on proximity to UC San Diego.
Second prize in the challenge, good for $1 million, was given to Dynamical Biomarkers Group, a Taiwan-based outfit led by medical school associate professor Chung-Kang Peng, Ph.D. Dynamical Biomarkers Group paired algorithms and analytics in a device controlled by a smartphone. HTC Research helped with the prototype.
In addition to the $2.6 million won through the Qualcomm-funded X-Prize, the Roddenberry Foundation will also deliver on an additional $1.6 million towards the teams’ Tricorders for actual use in hospitals and developing communities across the globe.
“Creating technology breakthroughs in an industry as complex as healthcare is quite a milestone,” Dr Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated, noted. “What these teams accomplished is a great stepping stone to making mobile healthcare a viable option across the world.”
One facility in Mozambique will be the first to use the devices in real-life situations, making this piece of Star Trek future-tech a reality.
Images: Paramount, XPRIZE
Source: IFL Science