Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE

Healthcare in the palm of your hand

Welcome to Our Blog

01/10/2012 -- Eileen Bartholomew

Welcome to the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE blog!

This blog will be a place where the XPRIZE team behind the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE will be sharing their experiences and views throughout this three-plus year competition.

The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is a $10 million global competition to disrupt healthcare as we know it. Why are we doing this? Well, in our opinion, disruption of the healthcare system is the first step in bringing better health to more people. The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE's role in disruption is to incentivize technology breakthroughs in wireless sensing, artificial intelligence and mobile technology to enable folks like you and me to have real, precise information about our health. We envision a future where mobile technology will deliver to consumers their health diagnoses in a way that is more accurate, more accessible and more understandable than today's doctors, nurses, hospitals, and insurance companies.

But first, a bit of a history about our name...

In the world of Star Trek, a tricorder is a multifunction handheld device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and data recording. There are three primary variants of the tricorder issued in Star Trek's Starfleet. One of these variants, the medical tricorder, is used to help diagnose diseases and collect bodily information about a patient. This device is fiction from the 23rd century. But we think we can create that same breakthrough today in the 21st century with a $10 million incentive prize.

But, many of you might ask, why is this important?

Well, for most of us, health is something we don't bother with... until we don't have it. Imagine this scenario:

It's 3 a.m. Your child is crying and screaming about an earache that has gotten progressively worse all day. Her temperature has been steadily rising and is now at 103°. What do you do now? Head to the hospital? Take her to a pediatrician? Get some Advil and wait it out? But would that interfere with a medication that she might get later at the ER or Urgent Care?

By the way, she is still crying while you are trying to figure this out.

Imagine an alternate universe, one where you take a small sample of her saliva and insert it into an attached sensor on your smartphone. There it gets analyzed, and - bing - on your 3x5-inch screen, it reassures you by telling you:

"Sadie has another ear infection. Please give her some Ibuprofen, because she may react to the aspirin like she did last time this happened in August. The nearest Walgreen's is two blocks away, and has a prescription filled for a topical antibiotic that should begin to address symptoms within three hours. Her pediatrician has an appointment available tomorrow at 3 p.m. Would you like me to schedule you for this time?"

We aren't there quite yet, but at XPRIZE we see a day when we soon will be. In this competition, we are creating this future by launching a $10 million competition that will ask to teams to accurately and quickly diagnose 15 common and important diseases without the input or oversight of a health professional. So that in the future we may not need a doctor, or an ER room, or not even have to wait until we are sick to get health information and health care.

Health information can be now, it can be mobile, and it can be controlled by you.