Invent A Functional Medical Tricorder and Win the $10 Million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE

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The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is currently underway and today an announcement was made that has me beyond excited. How excited? I may have exclaimed the profanity filled version of, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!” when I read the press release.

The X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation want to award a team of innovators a 10 million dollar Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE if they successfully create a functional medical tricorder. Yes, the type of tricorder that you’ve seen for decades on Star Trek. The prize will be awarded to a team that develops a mobile platform that most accurately diagnoses a set of 15 diseases across 30 consumers in three days. The information must be delivered in a way that is compelling, while capturing real time, critical health metrics such as temperature, respiratory rate and blood pressure. The X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation want to enable a diagnostic tool for consumers that will help them decide if they need professional help.

This tricorder is not intended for the medical community but instead for regular, everyday people like us, to help us with our health care choices.

“There is a dire need to improve access to healthcare globally and provide consumers with an opportunity to be active participants in their own health,” said Dr. Diamandis. “The Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE will incent the creation of technologies that can empower the consumer with the ability to decide when, where and how to seek health information and care.”

I do not think I can even begin to describe why this has me beyond ecstatic! Let’s ignore the fact that the inspiration for this competition comes out of the imagination of a man for whom I hold the up most respect–Gene Roddenberry–and a series that I’m in love with–Star Trek. Another reason why this has me beyond giddy with squee is because I wrote about the wish for something like this during one of my really bad lupus episodes.

I lamented about how wonderful it would be to have access to Dr Crusher’s sickbay so that I can place myself under the scanners and just watch the chaos that is currently going on inside of my body. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had even a fraction of this technology? Technology that does not require giving blood or more invasive procedures. Technology that can help us scan and map in real time, to listen in on the communication process between all the different factions currently at war. Imagine all that we could learn about disease especially a disease that fights as covertly and in such a guerrilla manner as lupus. Imagine the possibilities.

I know that this competition will not yield the type of scanners found in Dr Crusher’s sickbay, but it is the first step in making this dream a reality.

The X PRIZE Foundation will have a presence in Booth #30313, Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) South Hall 3, Upper Level and Booth #3231, LVCC North Hall. For more information about the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, visit:
http://www.qualcommtricorderxprize.org.

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