Star Trek's Tricorder Wins XPrize Competition

Posted: Apr 14 2017, 7:35am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Star Trek's Tricorder Wins XPrize Competition
Dynamical Biomarkers Group’s tricorder prototype
  • Star Trek’s Tricorder Manual Medical Scanner is No More Just a Part of Science Fiction

It looks like Star Trek’s Tricorder manual medical scanner is no more just a part of science fiction. It has become a reality thanks to the incentive given by a global competition.

While art imitates life, sometimes life too imitates art in a strange turning of the tables of reality. The world of science and technology proves that what was once only dreamt of is a reality today. The inventions of scientists that are still in their nascent phases include: holograms, teleportation and sonic screwdrivers.

Take Star Trek’s ever-ready device, the Tricorder. It is a sort of medical scanner which can diagnose the illness of a patient in a jiffy. The X-Prize Foundation was so eager to have a Tricorder in reality that it started a competition to see if a budding scientist could invent one from scratch.

A team of experts has come up with one that just might live up to its name. This group has won $2.6 million and another group has also bagged one million dollars as contributors to the effort.

The real goal was the making of a featherweight, external, manual gadget that could diagnose 13 health problems (one of these was paradoxically perfect health itself) within an hour and a half to a day’s time span.

The device would need no input from a professional doctor. The vital signs that would get analyzed via the device included heartbeat and lung function.

Starting out half a decade ago, ten teams were selected from 312 which began working towards manufacturing a Tricorder. These teams came from 38 different countries. Two of the final shortlisted winners were announced by the end of 2016.

According to Space.com, the winning team came up with a device which they named “DxtER”. This device is thoroughly suffused with artificial intelligence. Since no single variable would have allowed for a dozen or more medical conditions to be diagnosed, the winning team decided to collect tons of medical data in a compact form.

Via custom-made AI, the team built non-invasive sensors to obtain the vital statistics on the patient’s health and also hooked it up to a wealth of medical information.

This team will be given even more funds by the prize-giving institute to further streamline the device they have come up with. They have indeed set quite an example in the field of medicine.

You have to remember that once upon a time, a Tricorder was just a device on a television program called Star Trek. It was purely a figment of the collective imagination. The fact that it is close to becoming a reality today speaks volumes about the miracles being wrought by science and technology in this day and age.

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