X Prize Foundation Offers $10 Million for Medical Tricorder

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X Prize Foundation Offers $10 Million for Medical Tricorder

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The race is on to develop a highly-advanced medical diagnosis device like that seen on Star Trek.

Star Trek's tricorders are wondrous devices that can do anything from detecting radiation to determining the cause of death of a red shirt. The X Prize Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing humanity through radical breakthroughs fostered by competition, has announced that it wants the medical version of a tricorder to exist someday, and is therefore offering $10 million for it.

Previous X Prize competitions have challenged private entities to develop spaceflight vehicles, oil cleanup methods, and advanced genome sequencing techniques. The latest, dubbed the Tricorder X Prize, will reward $10 million to a team that can develop a "mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians." In other words, a form of medical tricorder that can accurately diagnose the sick and injured.

Such a device is predicted to arise from "combining advancements in expert systems and medical point of care data such as wireless sensors, advancements in medical imaging and microfluidics," a press release states. If someone owns one of these "mobile solutions," they'll be able to diagnose themselves quickly should an emergency arise, easily determining whether professional help is necessary.

Giving the general population access to a mass of accurate health-related information could not only help save lives, but ease the burden on healthcare systems around the world. It'd be much less worry-inducing than googling for "bump on toe" and being scared into thinking you have scarlet fever, that's for sure.

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I wonder how often the word "lightsabre" appears in the minutes for their meetings...

OT: I bet one could be invented tomorrow and no one would ever know about it. Cat Scans are insanely lucrative.

I think bonus cash needs to be awarded if they get it to make the same sounds as the ST one too :D

That's gotta be worth a whole lot more than $10 million...

(also, won't be happening for a long time)

This doesn't seem very feasible. Maybe for a handful of diseases, but the amount of stuff doctors have to look for when examining a patient, plus the need for additional exams is too much to be done by a small portable device.

EDIT: One of my teachers told us a story like this, where a prize was offered to whomever invented a test for Chlamydia that had high sensibility and sensitivity, took no longer than half an hour to give a result and could also be learned to use in less than half an hour. To this day, no one has managed to claim the prize.

I shall enter this competition & submit an tablet with WebMD on it. I win?

Heh. Well, I wouldn't know where to begin trying to devise a medical tricorder.

I've thought about the more generic variety a lot though; It'd be easy enough to create a very rudimentary version just by considering that a typical digital camera sensor if left without filters, can detect wavelengths of light from the near infrared into the UV spectrum.

Combine a few such sensors with filters for different wavelengths, a sensor configured as a digital spectrometer (they exist already), possibly some radiation detectors if you can make them small enough...
And combine it with a large amount of specialist data processing, and you have, in essence, a tricorder.

A medical model seems a little trickier to put together though, because the information you'd need to gather doesn't seem that simple to obtain.
MRI & CAT scans require bulky equipment at the moment, not to mention that an X-ray based system poses health risks in itself that you wouldn't want to expose people to without some degree of supervision...

They can offer whatever they want, they aren't going to have to pay in teh forseeable future.

The only feasable thing i can come up with is something that can accurately determine the cause of death, even at 1 mile+ distances.

I suggest a one-way video/audio communication system hooked up to said aforementioned panel of doctors, with a text output for them to write their official diagnosis. Just as good as sneaking a human through a Turing test!

We need Portal Gun X Prize. Now.

i can already see the headlines:
"medical tricorder is a reality,
buy your now and save HUGE on health care"
in other news
"a wave of suicides has struck the nations medical practices"

7 million euros is a bit measly for such an achievement. Hell miniaturizing only one of the many sensor systems that would be involved (fMRI that fits in the palm of your hand?) would be worth billions.

10 mill seems kinda small for something that could completely revolutionize the medical industry think of how many x ray machines and other equipment would be replaced with one device.

He's dead, Jim.

Shouldn't this be quite easy to pull off?

I mean, all doctors do is to ask questions and check other variables (blood values etc). So I guess you could probably cover 90% or all diseases with a more or less complex algorythm.

The real problem probably lies in minimizing all the equipment needed to run tests into a portable format.

10 million prize and billions off the patent. would make someone very very rich.

If i had something like the medical tricorder, $10 million would be pocket change.
Less than that, even.

In reality, i could at best create a small box with a picture of a healthy old guy, both thumbs up in the air, smiling, with a text "it's probably nothing."

Cousin_IT:
I shall enter this competition & submit an tablet with WebMD on it. I win?

Ironically, I bet the actual entries won't be much different!

Would it get credit if it at least determines it is not lupis?

To accurately diagnose any medical condition?

Well. You would need a way to take an analyze blood samples at the very least. If you could conceivably find a way to analyze the blood in a hand-held unit you could stream the raw data through a cellular or wifi connection to something that would actually perform the analysis, but it would still be a hell of a task.

You know what? This is an absolutely amazing idea. Seriously! Offering large amounts of prize money for things that will help advance the human race... More people should do this.

Let's have competitions on who can best tap into time travel. Who can come up with the fastest way to get from earth to mars? Who can come up with a single food item that has all the nutrients a human body will need for 24 hours? Granted, some of these are far-fetched, but for 10 million, anyone would try. I know a couple of science majors at my university who would gladly take a crack at the food item for prize money.

Motivation. That's what we all need. So let's do it! Medical tricorder! MAKE ONE.

For those of you complaining that 10 million is not enough, keep in mind that the people who invent it will get the 10 million IN ADDITION to the patent, which will definitely be worth many millions more. The 10 million is most likely to spread the word and to assure the people who are going to try making one that they will get something.

The in vitro and clinical trials for anything medical, like new drugs, routinely costs much more than even $100 million and often $1B. In summary, I don't think the $10 mil prize is going to cut it. Besides, the sales of such a device would probably dwarf that anyway.

This would be a hypochondriac star trek fan's ultimate ultimate fantasy.

I cannot believe it took this long... Hopefully this will accelerate development of such a device

You mean something like this?
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2010-2011/17/microscope.jsp

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Yeah, it's not a full blown medical scanner... Do I at least get a finder's fee? ;-)

This is a really, really far-fetched idea. The "diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians" basically means it's decades or even centuries out of reach. Diagnosis is so much more than doing vitals, blood test or imaging.

They should've done this, with a pokedex.

tehweave:
You know what? This is an absolutely amazing idea. Seriously! Offering large amounts of prize money for things that will help advance the human race... More people should do this.

Let's have competitions on who can best tap into time travel. Who can come up with the fastest way to get from earth to mars? Who can come up with a single food item that has all the nutrients a human body will need for 24 hours? Granted, some of these are far-fetched, but for 10 million, anyone would try. I know a couple of science majors at my university who would gladly take a crack at the food item for prize money.

Motivation. That's what we all need. So let's do it! Medical tricorder! MAKE ONE.

Wait a second there... didn't takeaway pizza already fit that bill? Sure lasted me 24 hours when needed.

OT: I don't know, but that'd mean you're effectively relying on a computer to tell you whether you need treatment. Somehow I don't think I trust software enough for that call.

All this being said, a lot of this kind of research is pretty expensive, and only having the slight chance that you'd see your investment make any kind of returns at all is going to be tough to find people that actually have the kind of means necessary to follow through.

However, as our technology continues to improve, we will have wider access to the kinds of things necessary to make stuff like this fit in your pocket.

meh itl probably be an Iphone app, infact I think their allready some apps to diagnose certain illnesses

10 mil is NOTHING compared to what something like this would be worth. Not that it's possible to make - good luck in teaching a machine the difference between depression and mourning, or how to diagnose a panic attack.

THE WII VITALITY SENSOR

I'll give 10 million for a flying rainbow unicorn that vomits joy

Plus a blowjob, but not from the unicorn

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