Aussies are closer than they’ve ever been to having access to a device like the Star Trek tricorder. The concept of the tricorder may be common enough in sci-fi movies and television, but it’s unprecedented in the real world – until now. There are high hopes for these devices to help patients in managing their health.
The technology for portable diagnostic devices is advancing rapidly enough that two teams are close to developing a viable device. The competition, Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, is in its final stage, with two final teams competing for the big prize. The final stage involves a consumer testing period.
The concept for the competition was proposed in 2011 and with the intention of improving the diagnostic process in healthcare. The goal of the contest is to provide people with “unprecedented access” to data related to their health. The requirements of these devices, per contest rules, are that they must be able to diagnose and interpret at least 13 health conditions, monitor five vital health metrics, and weigh under 2.3 kilograms for optimal portability.
The mandatory ten conditions that must be recognised as per the contest rules include: Anemia, Otitis Media, Pneumonia, UTIs, Sleep Apnea, COPD, Diabetes, Leukocytosis, and Arterial Fibrillation.
Additionally, the winning devices must monitor 3 of 5 health conditions: Hypertension, HIV, Shingles, Strep Throat, and Melanoma.
The requirements are quite stringent and have been met by the finalists, who are now in the consumer trial phase – the final stage of the competition. Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE lead Grant Campany said in a press release, “It is an impressive achievement for these two teams to advance to the consumer testing stage of the competition with their devices.”
Campany also said this stage takes healthcare one step closer to a real-world application from previously being only science fiction concept.
Chung Kang Peng, Harvard Medical School Professor, is the team lead for The Dynamical Biomarkers Group. This team is comprised of Scientists, Engineers, and Physicians as well as HTC, the mobile tech firm. The team is based out of Taiwan in Zhongli City.
The second team, The Final Frontier Medical Devices, is based in the US in Pennsylvania with Dr. Basil Harris, Emergency Room Physician, as the team’s lead. He is working alongside his brother, George Harris, a Network Engineer. It hardly appears to be an equal competition, but that awaits to be seen since both teams made it to the final stage.
The final testing stage is where consumers, trained by a clinical coordinator to use these two devices, will use them for 90 minutes to generate a diagnosis. The testing will be conducted at the University of California’s Altman Clinical Translation Research Institute in San Diego.
This is an exciting competition that has the potential to make an enormous impact on the healthcare sector. We are now on the brink of experiencing the future that has up to now only been possible in sci-fi!
Don’t wait for the Tricorder device! HCA can help you and start the New Year off right with a new job anywhere in the country. Call us on 1300 422 247 or register with us today!