Contest encourages inventors to make McCoy’s tricorder a reality

Star Trek
On Star Trek, Dr. McCoy used his tricorder to quickly diagnose patients.
Since 2012, research teams in the Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize competition have vied to create a mobile diagnostic device modeled after the fictional medical tricorder from Star Trek. For the first time, competition finalist Chung-Kang Peng, PhD, will present data on his team’s tricorder prototype in a special session at the 69th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in San Diego.

Beyond the cool factor of making science fiction reality, the creation of a tricorder-like diagnostic instrument would have a wide range of benefits for patients around the world. The Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize stipulates that the winning team will develop a device weighing no more than five pounds that can diagnose 13 conditions and capture five real-time health vital signs. A portable device like this could expand the reach of medical testing in limited-resource areas that lack access to well-equipped and staffed clinical laboratories — from low-income countries to the inner cities of developed nations. A real-life tricorder would also make testing more convenient overall, enabling patients to get necessary treatment faster and to better incorporate health information into their daily decision-making.

Now in its last round, the Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize has narrowed the initial field of contestants down to two teams of finalists, which include the Taiwan-based Dynamical Biomarkers Group led by Dr. Peng. Dr. Peng will present on the pioneering technology his team has developed on July 31 at the 69th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting, the largest and most recognized international forum for unveiling vital science and groundbreaking advances in laboratory medicine. He will also be joined by Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize semi-finalist Eugene Chan, MD. In addition to sharing the research behind their mobile diagnostic devices, the two innovators will discuss the potential future of their inventions, as well as the hurdles they encountered in bringing their ideas to life.

“We are thrilled that the Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize’s visionary scientists will present their technology at the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting,” said AACC CEO Janet B. Kreizman. “Every year, laboratory medicine experts and healthcare leaders from around the world come to AACC to learn about the advancements in clinical testing that could improve patient care. That makes this the ideal forum for the Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize innovators to introduce these revolutionary devices to the healthcare community.”

© Newswise 2017. All rights reserved.