Wouldn't it be amazing if we all had a personal medical scanning device like Star Trek's tricorder? Now the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is hoping to make it happen. We spoke to some contestants to learn how they're planning to win part of the $10 million in prize money.
Suppose you were out on a small boat, 100 mi from shore, with a few friends. Suddenly, one of them begins coughing hard and complaining of aches and pains and chills. It could just be the start of a bad cold, but he also seems to be running a fever, which might signal the onset of the flu. But it could also be something more serious, like bacterial pneumonia, that might require hospital care. How would you know?
With the Qualifying Round of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition only a few months away, we had a chance to catch up with Aezon, a Johns Hopkins-based team vying for a position in the Final Round of the competition. One of the younger teams in the competition, Aezon has already spun out a start-up, Aegle, representing one component of their three-pronged approach. We had the chance to speak with Neil Rens and Krzysztof Sitko, two of the fifteen members on the team, about their project and how it’s going.
Since the 34 teams competing for the Qualcomm Tricorder were announced in November, a few, like Scanadu, have caught the public eye while the vast majority remained in stealth mode. Now at least one team, Johns Hopkins University’s Aezon, is poking its head out to crowdfund its entry on Indiegogo. The team is attempting to raise $10,000 to support its shot at $10 million.
“It’s unbelievable,” marvels director J.J. Abrams. “If you had told me when I was a kid that there would ever be something at an office in which I worked that could print out a 3-D spaceship model, I would have never stopped following you around asking you questions about how to get it and where does it come from.”
Almost as soon as Jack Andraka, a sophomore at Glen Burnie’s North County High School, won the top prize at last year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, he’d decided on his next project. Not satisfied with winning $100,000 for developing a five-cent paper strip that stands a chance of becoming the world’s best—and cheapest—test for pancreatic cancer, Andraka set his sights on something bigger: Qualcomm’s $10-million Tricorder XPRIZE.
San Diego State University announced Monday it is jumping into the fray of a major competition to create something people have only seen in science fiction: a tricorder, the portable medical scanner fans have seen on "Star Trek." SDSU's X-Prize team says in a year it will have a prototype tricorder device capable of scanning your body and detecting certain health issues.
Computer chips and silicon micromachines are ready for your body. It’s time to decide how you’ll take them: implantable, ingestible, or intimate contact. Every flavor now exists. Some have FDA approval and some are seeking it. Others are moving quickly out of the research lab stage. With the round one Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize entries due in one year, we’re soon to see a heavy dose of sensors tied to the mobile wireless health revolution.
The company is one of many that compares its technology, with its noninvasive, no contact scanning, to Star Trek’s fictional tricorder. Arkin said the company has not yet decided whether to enter the competition for the Tricorder X Prize.
What the future of medical technology looks like is anybody’s guess, but it won’t be far from the slick wireless diagnostic and treatment options featured in any of the popular TV and movie incarnations of Star Trek.