Qualcomm is co-sponsoring a US$10 million contest with the X Prize Foundation to build a device that can diagnose accurately 15 diseases across 30 patients in the space of three days. The contest is called the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize (the Tricorder was an all-purpose device used in the Star Trek TV series). The hope is contestants will create portable devices that make personal health monitoring more widely accessible than it is at present. Qualcomm announced the contest at last week's CES.
The winning device might measure various metrics including blood pressure, respiratory rate and blood pressure. The tool should collect large volumes of data through a combination of sensors, imaging technology and “portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements”. The organisers have no wish to hold back contestants in terms of the device’s form. The only limit is that the device must weigh no more than five pounds. And the organisers are not expecting an answer tomorrow from competitors. The final winner will not be announced for over three years. The X Prize Foundation is a non-profit group dedicated to “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity”. It specialises in industries that are “currently stuck” due to existing failures.