$10m (£6.5m) prize has been offered to develop a Star-trek’s “tricorder” like medical device. It is Qualcomm Tricorder X prize launched at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Tricorder is a portable “sensing, computing and data communications device” as said by the official Star Trek technical manual, which was showed in the series’ first broadcast in 1966. In the show, which was set in the 23rd Century, the crew’s doctor was able to check the disease just by scanning the body.
This prize has challenged researchers to develop a device that would be able to find “key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases”. It would be a light weight device 5lb (2.2 kg).
From Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize,
“Metrics for health could include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements.”
The award organizers want to inspire the present day engineers and researchers to “make 23rd Century science fiction a 21st Century medical reality”.
“I’m probably the first guy who’s here in Vegas who would be happy to lose $10m,” said X Prize Foundation chairman Peter Diamandis.
“The most likely sort of technology would be something that detects metabolites,” Prof Jeremy Nicholson, head of the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London, said in a statement to BBC.
“What we use in our laboratory is big – the size of a Mini. The challenge is sticking it all into one device.”
“It will be wireless, mobile and minimally- or non-invasive.” He further said. “It may use digital imaging, it may be sequencing your DNA on the spot to tell you if you are allergic to something you just ate.”