Any Star Trek fan worth his or her salt years for a world where the technology from the show exists. Intergalactic star ships, transporter technology, warp drives, phasers, food replicators, and tricorders are sprinkled throughout our wildest fantasies. 3D food printers have already laid the groundwork for the proto-food replicators revolution that is clearly right around the corner. Imagine being able to push a button and have your 3D printer deliver a tasty treat made from various base food products. This is only the beginning of the Star Trek revolution. The future is now!
The next step into the world of Starfleet has already been taken by the forward thinking people at XPrize. For those of you unfamiliar with XPrize, think of it as somewhat akin to the Nobel Prize. In their own words, “An XPRIZE is a highly leveraged, incentivized prize competition that pushes the limits of what’s possible to change the world for the better. It captures the world’s imagination and inspires others to reach for similar goals, spurring innovation and accelerating the rate of positive change.”
One of the more interesting XPrize competitions has been the Qualcomm Tricorder Competition. This competition, begun in 2012, seeks to create an affordable version of the Star Trek medical tricorder.
Imagine a portable, wireless device in the palm of your hand that monitors and diagnoses your health conditions. That’s the technology envisioned by this competition, and it will allow unprecedented access to personal health metrics. The end result: Radical innovation in healthcare that will give individuals far greater choices in when, where, and how they receive care.
The 10 finalists have been chosen and are finalizing their designs. There are many interesting designs being created by the teams. All of these had to meet the minimum standards of the contest to even get this far. Those included meeting baseline standards of accuracy and functionality. However, “the winning entries will be the ones that score the highest in the diagnostic contest.”
I look forward to a time when the technology over which we all fantasized while watching our favorite science fiction movies and TV shows becomes part of our every day realities. XPrize is really helping to make those dreams come true.