Launched in 2012, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition challenged researchers and tinkerers around the world to develop a consumer-focused, mobile diagnostic device based on the medical Tricorder of Star Trek fame. From an initial field of approximately 300 teams, two finalists are still standing: Dynamical Biomarkers Group (Zhongli City, Taiwan) and Final Frontier Medical Devices (Paoli, PA) have advanced to the consumer testing round, vying for the $6 million first prize.
The devices—which are required to weigh less than five pounds, diagnose and interpret a set of 13 health conditions and continuously monitor five vital health metrics—will now undergo consumer testing at Altman Clinical Translational Research Institute at the University of California San Diego.
The testing is assisted by a clinical coordinator who trains the consumer on the device, followed by an approximately 90-minute independent session that provides a diagnosis within minutes. The winner will be announced in the first half of 2017.
The Dynamical Biomarkers Group has developed a system of three modules: A Smart Vital-Sense Monitor; Smart Blood-Urine Test Kit; and Smart Scope Module. Each module has been designed to allow consumers to use them in a simple and intuitive way, explains the team on the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE website. They are wirelessly connected to a smartphone, which runs a user-friendly app with an interactive screening process that guides in carrying out specific tests to generate disease diagnosis.
The team is Led by Chung-Kang Peng, PhD, the founding Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Technology of the National Central University in Taiwan and Director of the Center for Dynamical Biomarkers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. The Dynamical Biomarkers Group is a research group of the Center for Dynamical Biomarkers and Translational Medicine at National Central University in Taiwan.
The Final Frontier Medical Devices team created DxtER (pronounced Dexter), a consumer product designed to monitor health and diagnose illnesses in the comfort of the user’s home. DxtER functions autonomously, but can also remotely share important information with healthcare providers. DxtER is described as an artificially intelligent engine that learned to diagnose by integrating years of experience in clinical emergency medicine with data analysis from actual patients. Custom designed non-invasive sensors collect data about vital signs, body chemistry and biological functions. The diagnostic engine synthesizes the health data to make a quick and accurate assessment, writes the group on the website.
The team is led by brothers Dr. Basil Harris, an emergency medicine physician, and George Harris, a network engineer. The team brings together expertise in medicine, surgery, programming, signal processing, hardware design, medical sensors, user experience design, health policy and mobile tech.
In addition to the $6 million first prize, the runner up will receive $2 million, and $1 million will be awarded to the team that receives the highest vital signs score in the final round. An additional $1 million has been awarded in milestone prizes, bringing the total prize package to $10 million.
“Star Trek has inspired many engineers on a quest to improve the world by turning science fiction into reality. The Communicator preceded the smartphone, which has revolutionized our personal interactions, and provided instant access to knowledge and entertainment,” said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Executive Chairman, Qualcomm Inc. “Now, our healthcare will be improved through the hard work and ingenuity of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE teams who are bringing the devices to life.”