THE X PRIZE Foundation has offered a US$10 million prize for the first team to create a gadget familiar to Geeks everywhere: a Tricorder.
Tricorders are a fictional hand-held device from Star Trek, capable of 'scanning' people and determining what's going on inside them without the need for bulky x-rays or MRI machines.
Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation Dr Peter H. Diamandis introduced the prize at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show.
"There is a dire need to improve access to healthcare globally and provide consumers with an opportunity to be active participants in their own health," said Dr Diamandis.
"The Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE will incentivise the creation of technologies that can empower the consumer with
the ability to decide when, where and how to seek health information and care."
The $10 million top prize will be awarded to the team that develops a mobile platform that most accurately diagnoses a set of 15 diseases across 30 consumers in three days.
Teams must also deliver this information in a way that provides a compelling consumer experience while capturing real time, critical health metrics such as blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature.
The winning solutions will enable consumers in any location to quickly and effectively assess health conditions, determine if they need professional help and answer the question, 'What do I do next?' when it comes to their health.
"Health care today certainly falls far short of the vision portrayed in Star Trek," said Qualcomm Incorporated Chairman and CEO and Qualcomm Foundation Chair, Dr Paul Jacobs.
"By sponsoring the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE competition, the Qualcomm Foundation will stimulate the imaginations of entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and doctors to create wireless health services and technologies that improve lives, increase consumer access to healthcare and drive efficiencies in the healthcare system.
"This competition will accelerate the development of tools that can empower consumers to take charge of their own bodies and manage their own care."
The prize is the latest in a series of prizes offered by the foundation aimed at stimulating engineering research in areas such as space flight and now medicine.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.