by Vanessa Bates Ramirez, SingularityHub
In a few hundred years, doctors will scan their patient with a handheld device called a Tricorder to diagnose virtually any ailment. That’s according to Star Trek. Way back here in the 21st century, we’re not supposed to be anywhere near that utopian technology. But we may not be as far off as you’d think. That’s according to an XPRIZE competition inspired by the iconic show.
Searching for the real-life medical tricorder, in 2012 the XPRIZE Foundation partnered with San Diego-based Qualcomm to launch the Tricorder XPRIZE. And recently, XPRIZE announced the winner.
The contest challenged participants to create a Tricorder device that could diagnose 12 different diseases and capture real-time vital signs with a user-friendly handheld device. Such a device would be a major stepping stone to democratizing healthcare, essentially making reliable, home-based diagnostics available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
The nature of healthcare is currently sporadic and reactive; we go to the doctor once we’re already sick or injured. What if instead, healthcare was continuous and proactive, focusing more on preventing illness in the first place rather than on treating it once it’s already manifested?
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