Medical Tricorders Fit for Dr. McCoy: XPRIZE Contestants

November 9, 2013
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health IT tricorderFirst published on MedCityNews.com. An all-in-one health analyzer that weighs less than five pounds, can diagnose 15 health conditions and records vital health metrics like blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature with any pokes or pinches — sounds like science fiction, right?

health IT tricorderFirst published on MedCityNews.com. An all-in-one health analyzer that weighs less than five pounds, can diagnose 15 health conditions and records vital health metrics like blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature with any pokes or pinches — sounds like science fiction, right?

Nope. More than than 300 teams applied to be part of the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, but they’ve been whittled down to 34 official participants. They’re mostly from the U.S., the UK and Canada, but groups from Greece, India, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea, Taiwan and The Netherlands are also participating.

Many are student teams, including one made up mostly of high school students including Intel science fair winner Jack Andraka. There are also small startup companies, like Final Frontier Medical Devices, a team of “two brothers who grew up on healthy doses of science fiction and computers,” and Nanobiosym, which won the Nokia Sension XCHALLENGE earlier this year. There’s even a large public company, Visualant, that’s applying its ChromaID analysis technology, which measures light wavelength, to health sensing.

The full list of the teams is here.

Scanadu is the likely favorite among the public, because it seems to be the furthest along in development and has gotten so much attention from its hugely successful crowdfunding campaign. Most of the other teams don’t have that kind of marketing power behind them, or just haven’t gotten to the point where they really have much to show, so it’s hard to compare projects at this point.

Qualifying rounds will take place in April of next year, when teams will present their projects to a panel of industry leader judges. As many as 10 will advance to the final round, where their devices will be tested by a consumer panel.  The judges and consumer-testing panel will choose the first, second and third-place winners to receive $7 million, $2 million and $1 million, respectively.

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