Another science fiction idea is becoming a reality with the Xprize and the Qualcomm Foundation’s tricorder contest. Started in 2012, the contest ran for five years and included 312 teams. The goal was to create a medical device that fits in a hand and modernize the field of healthcare. The device has to accurately diagnose 13 health conditions, which includes 10 core conditions and three elective conditions. Plus, it must obtain five vital signs. Lastly, the device must work outside of a healthcare facility and without a healthcare worker present. So, what are the conditions it has to diagnose, one might ask?
So, what are the conditions it has to diagnose, one might ask? According to Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize website, the core health conditions include Anemia, Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes, Leukocytosis, Pneumonia, Otitis Media, Sleep Apnea, Urinary Track Infection, and absence of the condition. Plus, the teams could choose 3 elective health conditions out of a list of 10 provided. These conditions include cholesterol screen, food-borne illness, HIV screen, hypertension, Hypothyroidism/Hyperthyroidism, melanoma, mononucleosis, Pertussis (whooping cough), shingles, and strep throat. Lastly, the device must be able to obtain an individual’s blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and temperature. All this must be accomplished and the device has to weigh less than five pounds. The only other requirement is that the device must be able to store and share the information remotely via the internet.
Out of 312 teams, only two teams made it to the final round. The winner was Final Frontier Medical Devices, which won $2.5 million. The second place team was Dynamical Biomarkers Group that won $1 million. With this contest, the tricorder, seen on “Star Trek,” is closer to becoming a reality. It is amazing how many science fiction ideas become a reality. Hopefully, the tricorder will be one of them. So I ask; what science fiction idea do you want to see become a reality?
By Linda Kane