By Chuck Seegert, Ph.D.
Scenes of Star Trek’s Dr. Leonard McCoy diagnosing a crew member on a distant alien planet are pervasive in modern culture. Using a small handheld device, he had more resources at his disposal than a modern day hospital to figure out what’s wrong and heal the ailing crew member, usually within a scene (or maybe two). Bringing this type of healthcare accessibility to reality is the goal of Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition, and now 10 teams have been chosen to move on to the final round.
The field of competitors started at 300 teams, which eventually were narrowed down to 21 and then the current group of 10 finalists who will compete for the $10 million prize. The finalists were evaluated based on submissions that addressed user experience, safety, and evaluation of a health assessment, according to a recent press release. The panel of judges was drawn from various digital health and medical industry experts.
“Our selected finalists represent the most promising and innovative submissions as determined by our expert judging panel,” said Grant Campany, senior director of Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, in the press release. “We want consumers to take a more proactive approach to managing their health and having convenient access to real-time medical data will do just that. As we move to the final stage of this process, we are one step closer to putting healthcare in the palm of your hand.”
The device will measure up to 15 health conditions and five vital signs. During the final round, each team be evaluated on diagnostic experience, as well as consumer testing and interaction. The FDA will provide regulatory support, so that the winner will be ready to move through the regulatory process as smoothly as possible.
The finalists are:
- Aezon (Rockville, Md.) – a team of student engineers from Johns Hopkins University partnering with the Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design, led by Tatiana Rypinski
- CloudDX (Mississauga, Canada) – a team from medical devices manufacturer Biosign, led by Dr. Sonny Kohli
- Danvantri (Chennai, India) – a team from technology manufacturer American Megatrends India, led by Sridharan Mani
- DMI (Cambridge, Mass.) – a team from the DNA Medicine Institute partnering with NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, led by Dr. Eugene Y. Chan
- Dynamical Biomarkers Group (Zhongli City, Taiwan) – a team of physicians, scientists, and engineers led by Harvard Medical School professor Chung-Kang Peng
- Final Frontier Medical Devices (Paoli, Pa.) – a team led by the founders of Basil Leaf Technologies, Dr. Basil Harris and George Harris
- MESI Simplifying Diagnostics (Ljubljana, Slovenia) – a team from diagnostic medical device manufacturer MESI, led by Jakob Susteric
- SCANADU (Moffett Field, Calif.) – a team from start-up SCANADU, led by Walter De Brouwer
- SCANurse (London, England) – a team from diagnostic medical manufacturer SCANurse, led by Anil Vaidya
- zensor (Belfast, Ireland) – a team from clinical sensor and electrode company Intelesens, led by Jim McLaughlin
The XPRIZE organization was founded in 1995 as a way of “solving the world’s grand challenges by managing high-profile, large-scale, incentivized prizes in five areas: Exploration, Learning, Energy and Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences.”