The X-Prize Foundation announced a new prize to create a real-life version of Star Trek's famous medical tricorder. The implications of this are monumental, but require some explanation if you're not familiar with the X-Prize.

X-Prize is a non-profit organization that regularly offers prizes to any group that can met a goal it sets. Sounds simple and also boring, but in its short lifetime, the X-Prize has produced some astounding results. Previous prizes led to the first privately developed spacecraft, a revolutionary method of cleaning oil spills, and a car that gets over 100 miles to the gallon.

Here are the criteria the X-Prize has set for the tricorder, according to its website:
The winner will be the team whose technology most accurately diagnoses a set of diseases independent of a healthcare professional or facility, and that provides the best consumer user experience with their device. As envisioned for this competition, the device will be a tool capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases. Metrics for health could include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements.
The first prize is seven million dollars, along with two million for the second prize, and one million for the third prize. But really, we'll all be winners in this contest. Beyond the fact that having a working tricorder would be really cool, it would also revolutionize medicine. The goal is to create more non-invasive techniques of diagnosis - fewer needles, biopsies, and jelly-covered fingers. It would also be portable, so doctors could rely less on massive MRI machines, and get results faster than waiting for a lab report.

Would you use a tricorder?
[Image Source: Tekgoblin]
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