Star Trek may be science fiction, but this competition is based on real-world conditions.
In 2012, over 300 teams submitted letters of intent to be considered for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition.
The goal of the competition is “to create a portable medical device akin to the fictional tricorder of Star Trek fame,” says Erik Viirre, the medical director of the competition.
The most pleasing, interesting and effective systems will share in the $10 million prize.
“It will be divided between the first, second, and third prize winners, for the systems who do the best diagnosis,” says Viirre.
With the tentative announcement of a winner slated for the winter of 2017, Viirre says the competition is getting really exciting.
“We have seven finalist teams who are actually competing to have their tricorders tested with real people with medical conditions,” says Viirre.
Bruce asks Viirre if there are any requirements the devices have to meet.
The first of two main conditions, it has to be mobile.
“The whole system must weigh five pounds or less,” says Viirre.
Then, each team’s system will be tested to see just how much it can handle.
“Systems (should) be able to diagnose a whole variety of different kinds of conditions like bladder infections, or skin cancer, or high blood pressure,” says Viire.
“You think you’ll have a workable product by (2017)?” asks Bruce.
Viirre explains, the winning systems will likely end up in a museum.
“These will be demonstration technologies,” he says.