In his CES keynote, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs announced a $10 million X Prize for a team that can design a health device modeled after the "Tricorder" gadget from "Star Trek."
At the 2012 International Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Qualcomm and the nonprofit X Prize Foundation
announced the Tricorder X Prize contest to award $10 million
to a team
that can develop a handheld device to diagnose a patient's health.
The Qualcomm Foundation, the
chip maker's philanthropic arm established in 2010, is working with X Prize on
the competition. The X Prize Foundation is a nonprofit organization that runs
competitions to stimulate research and development.
Qualcomm and X Prize have
modeled the contest after the "Tricorder" scanning device, familiar
to fans of the "Star Trek" television series and movies. Dr. Leonard
"Bones" McCoy and Spock, the Vulcan science officer, frequently used
the Tricorder on the show, Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs noted in his keynote
The "Star Trek"
stories introduced different types of Tricorders, including models for medical
scanning, and others for scanning alien environments for life forms or a
variety of geological or atmospheric data.
"Health care today
certainly falls far short of the vision portrayed in 'Star Trek,'" said
Jacobs. "This competition will accelerate the development of tools that
can empower consumers to take charge of their own bodies and manage their own
X Prize has conducted
similar contests in education, global development, aerospace, energy and
environment. It awarded $30 million for the Google Lunar X Prize in education
and $10 million for the Archon Genomics X contest for genomic sequencing
sponsored by drug benefit manager Medco Health Solutions.
Dr. Peter H. Diamandis,
chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, announced the Tricorder competition
with Jacobs during the Qualcomm leader's CES keynote Jan. 10.
In his keynote, Jacobs also
mentioned Qualcomm's new 2net
, which will deliver medical data from patients to
caregivers. He also highlighted the company's Snapdragon
chips for Android and Windows 8
Teams developing devices in
the competition will incorporate data from wireless sensors, imaging
technologies and artificial intelligence into an "easy-to-use"
handheld device, said Diamandis.
The Tricorder can be brought
to life if all of these technologies are "seamlessly" integrated into
a device that's easy for consumers to use, he said.
"We are looking to
drive an extraordinary set of breakthroughs in health care," Diamandis
said during Jacobs' keynote.
The winning team will need
to develop a mobile platform that accurately diagnoses 15 diseases across 30
consumers in three days without a physician. The platform must also be able to
capture vital data, such as blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature.
By sponsoring the
competition, Qualcomm aims to motivate entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and
doctors to create wireless health services and technologies that increase
access to health care and make the health care system more efficient, said
"We're really working
hard to develop new wireless tools, devices, sensors and services that are
helping people interact with their health care providers and manage their own
wellness," the Qualcomm CEO said. "This is making health care more
accessible and more affordable."
In his keynote, Jacobs also
introduced Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer for Scripps Health
, who demonstrated medical
monitoring technologies for smartphones. Scripps Health is a nonprofit health
system in San Diego.
Topol showed apps that
displayed cardiogram waves and blood glucose readings on his Sony Ericsson
Xperia smartphone. With personalized
a trend to watch in 2012, Topol also demonstrated a sensor that
can take a saliva sample that uses DNA sequencing to tell whether medication
might work for an individual patient or not, or whether side effects might
X Prize's Diamandis took
inspiration from Topol's demonstration.
"Our goal is to take
the technology you saw Dr. Eric Topol demonstrate here light-years forward and
really to bring the Tricorder technology of 'Star Trek' to life," said