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$10M Tricorder X PRIZE Kicks off

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i'm-a-doctor-not-an-angry-birds-machine dept.

Handhelds 111

Back in May, we heard about Qualcomm's plans to hammer out details for an X PRIZE competition to invent a Star Trek-style tricorder. Now, reader Sven-Erik sends word that the requirements have been finalized and the competition has launched. "As envisioned for this competition, the device will be a tool capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases. Metrics for health could include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements. Given that each team will take its own approach to design and functionality, the device's physical appearance and functionality may vary immensely from team to team. Indeed, the only stated limit on form is that the mass of its components together must be no greater than five pounds."

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I'm making an Android app... (4, Funny)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675094)

You start it up and it prints: "It's Lupus"

Re:I'm making an Android app... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675252)

i laughed so hard i spit coffee all over my desk, ruined about $1500 worth of electronics... but it was worth it

Re:I'm making an Android app... (1)

kelarius (947816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676852)

Then the machine is an idiot.

Re:I'm making an Android app... (1)

drjoe1e6 (461358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676946)

It's NEVER lupus!

Re:I'm making an Android app... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38678352)

then it MUST be sarcoidosis

Re:I'm making an Android app... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38678816)

It's NEVER lupus!

It was Lupus. Once. It was touched off with "I finally have a case of lupus".

That's why "It could be lupus" never comes up anymore.

Climate Change... (2)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38678112)

The word "tricorder" is a portmanteau of "tri-" and "recorder", referring to the device's three default scanning functions: GEO (geological), MET (meteorological), and BIO (biological).

Not sure what the Geological setting might say.

Re:Climate Change... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38679020)

Ummm...

"The Earth has lupus?"

Re:I'm making an Android app... (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683154)

ataxia

i'm going to win. (5, Funny)

notgm (1069012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675108)

i'm building an ER in a zeppelin.

Re:i'm going to win. (2)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675270)

Apparently they specified mass, not weight :)

Re:i'm going to win. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675336)

They said mass, but used "pounds" as their unit of measurement, which is odd because imperial pounds only measure weight, not mass. So, er Zeppelin? Maybe....

Re:i'm going to win. (2)

Great Gravy (2541128) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675474)

I hope the er Zeppelin plays "Sick Again" when it finds something wrong.

Re:i'm going to win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675870)

That's the way it ought to be!

Re:i'm going to win. (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675930)

Really? AFAIK U.S. pounds are defined from kilogram which is a unit of mass, not weight.

Re:i'm going to win. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676148)

Not so. There are two systems:

pounds (force) and slugs (mass)

poundals (force) and pounds (mass)

The first is the more common.

Re:i'm going to win. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38682872)

And a pound (mass) subjected to standard earth gravity creates a force equal to a pound (force in either system). So specifying a mass of 5 pounds is pretty straightforward.

It's really not any more confusing than the fact that metric countries frequently refer to forces in kilograms.

Re:i'm going to win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675476)

Two of the linked articles mentioned weight (even the BBC one which translated 5lbs to the equivalent mass at casual earth-surface measurements).

According to those, Airship Tricord-ER is a go.

Re:i'm going to win. (2)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675514)

Oh the humanity!

Does it have to make the sound? (3, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675210)

I hope it has to make the sound.
/or it could go ping; but it wouldn't be the same.

Re:Does it have to make the sound? (4, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675388)

No, it can't go "ping". That's one of the requirements for the X-Prize for the Timey-Wimey detector: goes "ping" when there's stuff.

Re:Does it have to make the sound? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675548)

How about "Bing" or is that still under (C) by Monty Python?

Re:Does it have to make the sound? (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675814)

How about "Bing" or is that still under (C) by Monty Python?

No, Microsoft.

Re:Does it have to make the sound? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675904)

It's not like we're expecting some sort of Bing inquisition

Re:Does it have to make the sound? (2)

JSC (9187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676584)

No one expects the Bing inquisition!

It's not pretty when they blow. (1)

DarthStrydre (685032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676202)

Bonus if it can boil an egg at 30 paces, whether you want it to or not.

Re:Does it have to make the sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676752)

No, no, it goes "ding" when there's stuff, not "ping"...

Re:Does it have to make the sound? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676848)

The problem is, if it makes a sound the Klingons will discover where you're hiding.

Worth more than $10m! (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675244)

If you could invent such a device, surely it'd be worth more than the $10m prize, I'm thinking. ;)

Re:Worth more than $10m! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675378)

Why would anyone ever need more than $10m ?

Re:Worth more than $10m! (1)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675524)

Why must one need something in order to want it?

Re:Worth more than $10m! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675586)

That doesn't answer the initial question, doesn't it ? "Need" and "want" are different things. It's true that people confuse them all the time. Some say that's one of the causes of the misery in the world.

NASA, is that you? (0)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675264)

A mass of no more than 5 pounds? Shouldn't that be either a weight of no more than 5 pounds or a mass of no more than ~2.25 Kg?

They need to mush home with the teacher.

Re:NASA, is that you? (4, Informative)

tag (22464) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675374)

Re:NASA, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677324)

There is no way they mean pound mass. 5 lbm of mass would weigh around 161 lbf? (Assuming 32.2 ft/s^2 for gravity)

I really don't expect most journalists to specify lbf versus lbm. Of course switching to metric would solve everything....

Re:NASA, is that you? (1)

CommieLib (468883) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677758)

Let's hope they don't confuse it with kilograms, or else it will burn up in the Martian atmosphere.

The HypoSpray X-Prize can't be far away. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675356)

Borg implants can cause severe skin irritations. Perhaps you'd like an analgesic balm.....

Re:The HypoSpray X-Prize can't be far away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681234)

Borg implants can cause severe skin irritations. Perhaps you'd like an analgesic balm.....

Jeri Ryan's "borg" implants can also cause many types of inflamations ;^P

sound too? (2)

almostadnsguy (2009458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675382)

Does it also have to make that 1960's cool StrarTrek sound?

Innovation (5, Insightful)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675450)

Events like this are really great, it really spurs innovation.

It encourages people to think outside the box and build something normally only researched if there's great market value. If companies are making fair change with current products, they'll milk research till later and slowly release tech to keep the market at the right level of saturation.

The fact that a reward to cover research expenses and advance technology like that is just out there is great. It might not be perfect, whatever is developed, but it's a start in a good direction. It might not be a mass marketed product, the original anyway, but that 10 mill will at least get the ball rolling.

Re:Innovation (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675942)

RE: Events like this are really great, it really spurs innovation.

No, that's what patents were invented for. /Maniacal laughter

Re:Innovation (2)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38678792)

My entry is ready now. It's a hollowed out brick of lead with a flap on one side and a display screen painted on the other. The screen reads 'acute radiation poisoning'. The devices inner working are a trade secret.

Re:Innovation (1)

grep_rocks (1182831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38678904)

$10M probably does not even come close to covering the R&D costs for something like this, if it is even possible (I can't access the sit through my corporate firewall) - I suspect it will provide no incentive for anyone serious - it would be a rip off for everyone who competes and does not win, what a great way to get 100M in reseach for only 10M, because you would not have to pay for all the blind alleys the losers went down, if they want it they should just pay for the god-damn research and do it themselves - I speak as a professional medical researcher

Re:Innovation (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38679040)

Sorry, it must have seemed like I was implying it would be a sufficiently reliable tool to place into medical use immediately and start production.

It never said anything about accuracy margins or what illnesses it had to detect. With that in mind, you can probably develop something that is functional and can potentially identifying fifteen different diseases within a certain percentage of accuracy.

I'm sure they have rules for accuracy, but not knowing what they are means there's a chance that the device does not need to match the skills of a doctor or any other medical device / test designed exclusively to detect a particular disease.

Obviously if the design was innovative enough, to push it into practical and safe use, including licensing, FDA testing etc, would cost a lot more.

Re:Innovation (2)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682382)

Nonsense. The trick is to find standard technologies that can read and predict diseases.

      (1) Laser or infrared thermometer. Check.
      (2) Some form of paper chromatography tests. Get 'em from your hardware store. Check.
      (3) Various voltage electrode readings. Have your doctor give you an EKG in the standard physical, and take home with you the electrodes. Check.
      (4) A videocamera, an optical fine-focus camera, and a lenseless PenCam camera with interchangeable filters, to view the body at different wavelengths, including IR, or to finely examine such things as the eyes.
      (5) A twisted wire thermometer, and a mirror-vapor hygrometer, to measure water vapor emitted.
      (6) A couple of various speakers and microphones, one to listen to normal frequencies (like breathing, talking), and a couple others for sound imaging.
    (7) Lots and lots of programming. Ideally the tricorder should talk to the person, and listen to their answers, including such things as, "what seems to be the problem?" to get symptoms that it can look up.

    It seems to me all these things are easily available, and could be incorporated. I suspect that the 15 diseases will include some easy ones, and some very hard ones. One just has to beat the other tricorders. One doesn't have to solve every problem.

    My guess is that a team that included a CNA nurse, an RN, a family doctor, an electronics whiz kid, and about 5 programmers, probably could come up with the winning solution.

    Also, don't forget that you can use patented technologies (such as the chromatography) as long as you buy it from the store. You *do* have to find a way to sequentially test and pull them.

Re:Innovation (1)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682396)

Nonsense. The trick is to find standard technologies that can read and predict diseases.

      (1) Laser or infrared thermometer.
      (2) Some form of paper chromatography tests. Get 'em from your pharmacy .
      (3) Various voltage electrode readings. Have your doctor give you an EKG in the standard physical, and take home with you the electrodes. Check.
      (4) A videocamera, an optical fine-focus camera, and a lenseless PenCam camera with interchangeable filters, to view the body at different wavelengths, including IR, or to finely examine such things as the eyes.
      (5) A twisted wire thermometer, and a mirror-vapor hygrometer, to measure water vapor emitted.
      (6) A couple of various speakers and microphones, one to listen to normal frequencies (like breathing, talking), and a couple others for sound imaging.
    (7) Lots and lots of programming. Ideally the tricorder should talk to the person, and listen to their answers, including such things as, "what seems to be the problem?" to get symptoms that it can look up.

    It seems to me all these things are easily available, and could be incorporated. I suspect that the 15 diseases will include some easy ones, and some very hard ones. One just has to beat the other tricorders. One doesn't have to solve every problem.

    My guess is that a team that included a CNA nurse, an RN, a family doctor, an electronics whiz kid, and about 5 programmers, probably could come up with the winning solution.

    Also, don't forget that you can use patented technologies (such as the chromatography) as long as you buy it from the store. You *do* have to find a way to sequentially test and pull them.

About time (3, Insightful)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675578)

This sounds great and all, but it seems a shame that they've got to bribe people into developing such a device. A portable, multi-purpose medical diagnostic tool isn't sufficiently desirable on its own? You'd think something like this would have been in development for years already.

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675636)

Dammit Jim! I'm a doctor, not a venture capitalist!

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675728)

$7 million probablaly won't cover the R&D costs for any of these. It's not about brbing someone into making something that wasn't in development before, it's about publicity and having a chance at covering some of the R&D costs that you've already had to dish out.

Re:About time (1)

greap (1925302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676442)

> This sounds great and all, but it seems a shame that they've got to bribe people into developing such a device. A portable, multi-purpose medical diagnostic tool isn't sufficiently desirable on its own? You'd think something like this would have been in development for years already.

It has been. The x prizes are about encouraging startups and outsiders to the fields in question to become involved and so both bring fresh eyes to the problem and provide an influx of tallent in to a specific sub-sector of an industry. With publicly funded efforts (NiH) and alike things get even more murky with various restrictions on how resultant technologies would be used.

An existing multinational funding a project like this internally would be mired in beurocracy and would be competing with internal politics where people have established their careers supporting and selling older forms of diagnostic equipment. A startup doesn't face these, can be run on a shoestring, and in addition the prise money and the massive publicity winning would bring provides a massive boost in their attempts to recieve funding.

Re:About time (1)

joshamania (32599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676496)

Allow me to introduce you to a little concept we in the real world call "economic incentive".

Re:About time (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677672)

Building the 21st century's answer to the stethoscope - multipurpose, portable, everyone uses it - isn't enough incentive? Actually, it probably isn't these days. Nobody is interested in taking real risks.

Not exactally a bribe (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677582)

More like 'chance' funding.

Cellphones (3, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675632)

Why dedicated tricorders if you have cellphones? Carrying an "intelligent" device with a lot of "awareness" already (accelerometers, magnetometers, gps, etc), adding them a few more that take existing input (i.e. measuring elements in breath when you are answering a call, or from your hand when you are holding it) should not be that hard. The key here is more to make compact enough sensors to that kind of use. Of course, you can have also devices on your body taking measurements and communicating with the phone by bluetooth too.

Re:Cellphones (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676332)

They are aiming for under 5 lbs, that's an awful lot of weight to add to a 5 oz phone. A sixteen-fold increase might be a bit much to say one is adding medical instrumentation to a phone--it might be more accurate to say one is adding a phone to a medical instrument.

Re:Cellphones (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677100)

One step at a time. Virtual laser keyboards and laser projectors are cool but what we really want is to have them in our cellphones or other portable devices so that we don't have to whip out a peripheral. But being able to buy a separate one satisfies the early adopters now and paves the way for the tech to become more ubiquitous and cheaper and hopefully eventually smaller as well.

*medical* (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675672)

*medical* tricoder they mean.

Re:*medical* (1)

dryo (989455) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683246)

Indeed, and it comes with the Feinberg accessory sensor

Radio signals and different organs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675706)

wonder if organs give off different rf signals, depending on energy consumption, health of said organ, etc.. noise cancellation might remove some of the background noise.

I want a guy friendly toilets, sonic showers and a few other things that can be appreciated by women... and men.

Complete waste of effort.... (0, Troll)

jkyrlach (1076609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675726)

I'm sorry but this is a stupid idea. You are going to go to great lengths to detect things the patient could just tell you. You certainly aren't going to ask a three-hundred pound person to stand on your tricorder to take their weight. You'll just ask them. medical diagnosis is an algorithm -- it's a software problem. how you get the data is not that important, nor does it require that much technology. A thermometer, a scale, a stethoscope, a blood-pressure cup are all well-established inexpensive tools that work. What matters is what you do with that data. There are two things we need to work on, in my not so humble opinion: 1. An algorithm for diagnosing visual data -- pictures of ears, nose, throat, skin and 2. An algorithm for parsing patient narrative about their ailment against their medical history, family medical history, recent dietary/athletic/sleep/sex/environmental/social triggers. Rather than a Swiss army knife of instruments, we need an i-phone with Siri hooked up to something like IBM's Watson, configured for medical diagnosis. Unless you know how to fit an MRI, XRAY Machine, centrifuge, and dna lab into a five pound box.

Re:Complete waste of effort.... (4, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676084)

Asking people what's wrong with them isn't exactly an unbiased way of finding out what's really wrong with them. Their knowledge is full of errors (as it's reliant upon their memory, which is severely flawed), and they may not even feel things that are wrong with them. We need a way of doing a star trek-style scan of them to find out what's really wrong with them, instead of wasting time with their hypochondriacal problems.

As for taking someone's weight, you really think that asking people what they weigh is an accurate way of getting that information? I guess surgical centers should just take out their high-precision scales (used to get the patient weight right before surgery so the anesthesiologist can calculate the correct dosage so they don't kill the patient), and just ask the people what they weigh instead!! If a patient's home scale is off by 10%, or they don't want to admit to themselves that they're really 200 pounds and instead say they're 160, that'll be OK, right?

Even family medical history isn't very good data. A patient may be adopted, or a patient may not realize that the person who he believes is his father actually isn't (studies have shown that something like 10-15% of people were fathered by someone else; i.e., the mother had an affair and never told anyone). So the patient might be worried because all his relatives on his "father's" side have some condition and thinks he'll have it too, but he's actually not biologically related.

With semiconductor-based DNA scanning right over the horizon, yes, we should be working to build an MRI, centrifuge, and DNA lab into a five-pound box, and not waste time trying to make an accurate diagnosis with someone saying "my leg hurts!".

Re:Complete waste of effort.... (2)

jkyrlach (1076609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676508)

Sure, the patient is biased, but the information they have is still valuable. I have never been to the dr where they didn't ask me questions. A Dr. is good at weeding out red herrings, knowing where to get clarification, which statements to get clarification on. Sure, patients lie, but technology is not a great solution for that problem. Will your tricorder really be bale to see that they really do use drugs or really are an alcoholic? Be realistic guys. I was just trying to say that as far as the basic indicators -- weight, height, blood pressure, temperature -- we have good enough tech already. Unless this contest is going to produce a box that does the magical thing that a tricorder can do, ie MRI in a box, then I think we could advance the medical profession much further by focusing on things like Watson.

Use your imagination (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677370)

Picture yourself in a refugee camp where you have thousands of people you must diagnose in the quickest way possible. Are you going to have time to give each one a five minute interview to discuss their symptoms...or is it just quicker to do a scan with a handheld device to diagnose ten or more diseases with 100% accuracy? The beauty of a medical tricorder device is that it could operated by non-medical professionals. Individuals could be trained to use the device and they could be deployed by the thousands to remote areas with little infrastructure, connected via internet. The savings from lab tests alone would make such a device nothing short of revolutionary.

Re:Use your imagination (1)

jkyrlach (1076609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677562)

I'm sorry, that's not going to happen. You could make something identify 10 or more symptoms, but no way will you get a five pound something diagnose any ten diseases with 100% accurtacy -- the diseases would have to be completely diagnosable from the surface of the patient, and even then, i bet you are going to need the software that i talked about in original post that can parse pictures to identify ailments. I don't get what you guys are saying: This contest is about producing a better medical swiss army knife -- if that's what's keeping those poor refugees from getting treated, then ok, go for it. but i think a lot more people could be helped by focusing on artificial diagnostic intelligence, using something like watson.

Re:Complete waste of effort.... (1)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682432)

Will your tricorder be able to tell that they use drugs or really are an alcoholic? Image the nose and eyes. Perform a time-based FFT on the fingers as they sit there. Take a look at the IR frequency. Take an FFT on the voice.

I don't think it requires magic. I think a lot of the stuff *is* solvable with image analysis, and has already been developed by defense electronics companies. Take a look at the techs on display at embedded computing and RISC tech fairs.

Re:Complete waste of effort.... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683640)

Asking people what's wrong with them isn't exactly an unbiased way of finding out what's really wrong with them.

No probs. The autopsy will clear any doubts. Most of them, at least.

Re:Complete waste of effort.... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676204)

House says people lie.

Re:Complete waste of effort.... (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676328)

I agree. Working in an MRI environment, some people have piercings in the usual places (genital area, nipple) and then discreetly ask one person accompanying them something about it but not mention it on their screening forms.

Re:Complete waste of effort.... (2)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676500)

I agree. Working in an MRI environment, some people have piercings in the usual places (genital area, nipple) and then discreetly ask one person accompanying them something about it but not mention it on their screening forms.

I assume you can guess what is pierced from the pitch of their screaming?

MEDICAL tricorder (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675768)

Technically this is a medical tricorder.

The tricorder that Spock uses to analyze planetary atmosphere and find several beings moving beyond that ridge is what I want.

But actually that's already been made: http://www.stim.com/Stim-x/0996September/Sparky/tricorder.html

Already made this... (4, Funny)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675858)

But, it diagnoses everyone who's ever even HEARD of a "tricorder" with A.D.D.

Re:Already made this... (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38678288)

Hey! I've heard of a "tricorder" and I don't have ... oh look, a chicken.

Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (5, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675922)

Wikipedia's article on Noninvasive glucose monitor [wikipedia.org] :

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in companies who have sought the solution to this long-standing problem, and the search has been peppered with false starts, premature announcements of success and outright chicanery on the part of some investigators. However, most of the researchers in this field have been genuinely interested in helping those with diabetes find a less painful and more convenient way to measure their blood glucose.

Approaches that have been tried include near infrared spectroscopy (measuring glucose through the skin using light of slightly longer wavelengths than the visible region), transdermal measurement (attempting to pull glucose through the skin using either chemicals, electricity or ultrasound), measuring the amount that polarized light is rotated by glucose in the front chamber of the eye (containing the "aqueous humor"), and many others.

And that's just one parameter. A useful tricorder would cost billions of dollars to make, not just $10 million.

Re:Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676476)

A useful tricorder would cost billions of dollars to make, not just $10 million.

Agreed. Think of the number of tests it would need to do non-invasively; I believe one of the functions of the tricorder on the show seemed pretty much the same as an MRI scan. MRI scans only work becuase you surround the patient with a powerful magnetic field, and that's NOT coming with a hand-held device.

One point for the advent of the tricorder is in some ways I would argue the tricorder is actually out of date. If I also recall from the show, Star Fleet had an array of these devices for specialized funtions. One was the medical application, which we've discussed, and I distinctly recall Spock having one that seemed to be more for science apps. We already have cell phones at 1/4 the size of the show's tricorder that can do many science-like measurements, GPS, weather information, distance measurments (Luke's binoculars from Star Wars, I have such an app on my phone), all kinds of IP detection, etc..

Re:Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676756)

You can do an MRI with the Earth's magnetic field, it's just the SNR goes to pot and you get crappier scans. There are people working on low magnetic field image capture machines using NMR technology. Look at this: http://www.news-medical.net/news/2008/07/08/39842.aspx
You can also have small coil MRI units: http://medgadget.com/2005/05/mayo_clinic_bc1.html

Re:Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (1)

inflamed (1156277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677142)

The best solution would be a portable low-power high-field NMR (OK, I might as well ask for a flying unicorn). You can detect characteristic resonances for a gazillion compounds and through TOCSY isolate them from other signals. IMO 50% of diagnostic medicine or more could be done with NMR.

Re:Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677478)

MRI is NMR with a name change.

Re:Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (1)

someSnarkyBastard (1521235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676578)

True, but the PR windfall is much more valuable than the prize money. The publicity stirred up by claiming the prize would mean lots of exposure (and thus - more importantly in an emerging market - mindshare) through news programs, magazine articles, Google search results, etc. Also, I'd wager that if you can point to your X Prize during a sales pitch to hospitals, the US Military, or FEMA your claims suddenly get a lot more credibility so you're more likely to recoup those R&D costs through big contracts. Just getting the military alone to sign on would likely guarantee a massive cash-flow, every medical corpsman in the field would be issued one of these.

Re:Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38678678)

Bah, just put a chunk of gold in the replicator and you have all the money you need.

Re:Hundreds of million$ already on just glucose (1)

apcullen (2504324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38679568)

This is an excellent point, but to counter it I would say that all of the space ships that were designed for the first x-prize competition must surely have cost much more than the $10 Million prize.

another source to ignore (1)

non-plus (260549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676132)

just what i need..... something else to tell me i'm over-weight and out of shape and need to get my tubby-butt in gear. i thought they already invented mirrors?

Can't look like one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676700)

All I can say is that it had better not look like one or there will be copyrights to pay.

Re:Can't look like one (1)

Grave (8234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676990)

You mean like how modern tablets like the iPad aren't allowed to look like the tablets used in Star Trek?

Oh, wait...

we had some in highschool (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676838)

http://www.stim.com/Stim-x/0996September/Sparky/tricorder.html [stim.com] I think that was the one we had. Really dorky one of a kind science class where we measured emf, geopositioned things (before public access to GPS), etc. Thing did temperature, emf, voltmeter stuff if you had the attachments I think, had a colour spectrum analyzer (so you could hold it up to something and it would tell you the rgb values).

sensors on a micro-USB device (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676904)

I want to see the sensor pack on a thumb-drive-sized micro-USB device that can plug into any smartphone... um, sorry, *many* smartphones... Then tell CBS to stop screwing with Kenneth Lakin and turn him loose on it.

Ooooh oooh oooh, make the sensor pack a Bluetooth device that looks vaguely like a chrome cigarette lighter!

Re:sensors on a micro-USB device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38678254)

Probably the smartest comment on the subject.Make plug-in(or built-in) sensors

Re:sensors on a micro-USB device (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38678314)

I can't realistically take credit. What made me think of it was Lakin's excellent Tricorder app for Android (previously PalmOS) [1] which actually did useful things; only hampered by the device's lack of sensors.

[1] Shut down by CBS for copyright infringement or somesuch. As I understand the story, Roddenberry explicitly granted permission to use the concept, later rescinded by the network.

CBS... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676926)

So... won't CBS sue the hell out of the winner?

Re:CBS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681106)

Not if it puts the words 'Star Trek' on it[1] without paying the licence.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricorder

More fun with metrics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677234)

Um, 'five pounds' is no way to measure mass. Duh.

They've already go this in larger form. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677724)

Nurse: "Uh... This goes in your mouth. This one goes in your ear. And this one goes in your butt. (Joe puts wires in, machine beeps) Shoot. Hang on a second. This one... Uh... This one... this one goes in your mouth and ..."

5 Seconds Later
Diagnostics Say - "Beep - You have Hepatitis - Awwww!!"

modV uTp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677768)

IS DYING LIKE THE name on the jar of and arms an3 dick bulk of the FreeBSD Fact: *BSD IS A my efforts were big picture. What say I'm packing parties). At THE it was fun. If I'm

First Device Finished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677958)

I've finished my five pound probe, who wants to test it?

I really would like a live-on voice translator. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38678026)

I really would like a live-on voice translator. Health I can establish by simply looking in the mirror. No zombie face, no disease. But for U.S. folks speaking only one language (and not even all that well), it would be a god-send on their trip to S. America, or Europe, for that matter...

What are the 15 diseases? (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680714)

I don't see it spelled out anywhere.

I have the solution. (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682922)

Netbook: 2lb. Check.

It has a camera. It has a microphone. It has two other input devices (keyboard, touchpad), sometimes three (fingerprint reader). For external sensors, you have one or two USB ports. Pop in a rat tail for a finger pulse oximeter. Kick up the internet connection for the NHS Home Diagnostics page (right here [nhsdirect.nhs.uk] ).

I think that surpasses the requirements somewhat.

Epic win.
Where's my prize?

Trekking along... (1)

tchall (1146319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684218)

They'd better watch out... Paramount is VERY jealous of that "Tricorder" word... The Android application that actually enabled some of those functions got smashed...
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