A tech company has challenged gadget gurus to come up with a real-life version of the health-scanning Star Trek Tricorder. But what are the chances of success?
As part of its ongoing X Prize Project, wireless technology company Qualcomm has offered a $10 million (£6m) pot to anyone who manages to create a real-world version.
The X Prize Project has been running for a few years now. It aims to advance the research and production of space-related technology by non-government projects using a series of competitions – such as the Tricorder one.
The device is described as being “health care in the palm of your hand” and once reproduced could completely revolutionise the way hospitals and surgeries work. Being able to obtain a quick checklist of a person’s health history or diagnose different conditions, using nothing but a simple palm gadget, could drastically transform day-to-day medical treatment.
At its most basic, Qualcomm’s Tricorder could answer the one question that wastes more time and money than any other: “Do I need to see a doctor?” It could speed up contact time with medical professionals, reduce waiting times and set people’s worries to rest.
A Tricorder could also change the nature of health care in the third world, where finding access to professional medical assistance and patient records is much harder. And that has secured it a coveted spot on The Cool List.
The X Prize competition is still in the early stages, but the generous winnings have turned some of the world’s top engineers and scientists on to the project. Qualcomm has just unveiled the 34 elite teams – mostly from the US, UK and Canada – who will compete to invent the gadget by winter 2015.
With this is mind, the chances of a real Tricorder being invented are promising indeed.