X-Prize Tricorder

  • Apr 15th, 2017
  • Guy Paterson

Star Trek’s “tricorder” medical scanner just got closer to becoming a reality

The winner of the long-awaited Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is Pennsylvania-based Final Frontier Medical Devices. Final Frontier developed a mobile device able to diagnose 13 health conditions while continuously monitoring five vital signs. The award was announced April 13, 2017 at a ceremony in Los Angeles. 

“We could not be more pleased with the quality of innovation and performance of the teams who competed,” said Marcus Shingles, CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, in a statement.

In 2012, the nonprofit company XPRIZE and U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm launched the competition to incentivize companies to build a medical tricorder–a portable device to rapidly diagnose medical conditions—right out of the scenes of “Star Trek.” The original field, comprising 312 applicants, was narrowed to 10 finalists in August 2014.

 In early tests, the prototype tricorders fell short of being able to actually diagnose the required set of health conditions such as anemia and sleep apnea.    But the past year must have gone well for the devices’ developers, because now there’s a winner. Final Frontier, helmed by two brothers (Basil Harris, an emergency room physician, and George Harris, a network engineer), spent four years creating and testing DxtER (pronounced “dexter”). The device relies upon a group of non-invasive sensors, such as a blood pressure cuff and temperature monitor, that collect data on vital signs, body chemistry, and biological function. That data is fed into the “brains” of the machine, a set of algorithms trained with actual patient data.

DxtER system

The DxtER device

From: IEEE Spectrum

See winning team:


Guy Paterson

Co-Chair - Health Opportunities - Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce

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