Especially if I could hook it up to certain dispatchers. But I digress.
The X Prize Foundation has set up multimillion-dollar rewards for lunar landers and ultra-high-mileage cars. Its next contest is straight out of sci-fi: The X Prize is asking scientists to envision and build the equivalent of Star Trek’s medical tricorder, a device that can remotely diagnose any malady in patients.
“Healthcare today certainly falls far short of the vision portrayed in Star Trek,” Paul Jacobs, the head of Qualcomm, says.
That’s probably because Star Trek was set in the 23rd century and this is the early 21st century. We’re way ahead of where a lot of people thought we would be at this point in time. Me included.
But Kalmar, a neuroscience Ph.D., says she can imagine something as simple and ubiquitous as a camera making other measurements to serve as a proxy for a brain scan. For example, gauging reaction time or eye movement could indirectly gauge brain activity or help to diagnose illness.
I’m sure she’s smart, but does she have her own TV show. You know, like Dr. Mayim Bialik? Sorry, I’m digressing again.
Indeed, Misczynski says, many if not most of the technologies and sensors that you might envision being in a tricorder already exist, but nobody has really thought about combining them before, which is why he’s excited about the contest. “Medicine is a bunch of silos,” he says. “The cardiologist wouldn’t even think of talking to a pulmonologist.”
And of course NO ONE will shake hands with a Proctologist. There is one place where all of these devices would come in handy. Well, one in the hospital and the other one being…
Not only would an all in one device like this, especially one that is completely none invasive, be helpful in emergency situations, but if something like EMS 2.0 ever gets off the ground this would help our futuristic primary care paramedics to treat their patients.
The $10 Million dollar prize is very nice and will spur research, but if the military takes an interest, there will be a lot more money for R&D. After all remote diagnosis has huge potential for the battleground. In fact there is a lot of research going on in the military right now for what they call telemedicine
So, the end result of this X-Prize may not be Dr. McCoy’s medical tricorder. But Bartholomew says the tie-in with Star Trekmakes more sense than you might think. “Any futuristic story is inspirational—creating stories and technology breakthroughs can be surprisingly similar. Its power and draw is something that people can understand,” she says. “Ultimately, we’ll change what people think is possible.”