Since Star Trek shows a post-scarcity reality, it doesn’t spend much time focusing on the companies or people that propel a society into the future. Oh sure, we all know the work of Dr. Noonien Song at one end of the spectrum and the bleak embodiment of transhumanism in the Borg at the other.
But what about the beneficial technologies? Aside from holotechnology (I hear the Ferengi have the best programs), where were the every day devices devised and manufactured?
Some companies, like XPrize and Qualcomm, aren’t waiting for fictional revelations. They created a competition in 2013 to inspire inventors to bridge the gap between science fiction and science reality focused on consumer medical devices.
I’ll be the first in line to access new holotechnology, transporters, and warp drive, but creating accessible medical technologies will be the way to help everyone live long and prosper.
The contest requirements for the proposed tricorder device looked like a great first step:
Required Core Health Conditions (10): Anemia, Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes, Leukocytosis, Pneumonia, Otitis Media, Sleep Apnea, Urinary Tract Infection, Absence of condition.
Elective Health Conditions (Choice of 3): Cholesterol Screen, Food-borne Illness, HIV Screen, Hypertension, Hypothyroidism/Hyperthyroidism, Melanoma, Mononucleosis, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Shingles, Strep Throat.
Required Health Vital Signs (5): Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Oxygen Saturation, Respiratory Rate, Temperature.
18 required tests with a minimum additional 3 conditions. You know that once they have the base models in people’s hands, and finesse the hardware and software, upgrades will rapidly appear to cover even more conditions.
On April 12, 2017, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize winners were announced with two teams claiming the top prize of $2.5 million dollars: Final Frontier Medical Devices and Dynamical Biomarkers Group.
The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is a $10 million global competition to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, helping consumers make their own reliable health diagnoses anywhere, anytime.
The company is continuing its commitment to the project with a post-prize initiative that includes R&D and marketplace testing.
Check out the winning tricorder designs in this infographic.
What a great initiative this is and once the benefits of scale kick in and the price point is optimal, I can see many people wanting these devices. I can see this eliminating waiting lines in the emergency room and doctors’ offices. I hope the medical community sees the many benefits and endorses its usage. Kudos to Qualcomm for starting the ball rolling on this and enlisting other corporate citizens to participate. Well written and informative piece, Dale Wells.