The quest is over for the most promising automated diagnostic gadget, inspired by the fictional â€œtricorderâ€ used by Dr. McCoy in Star Trek. A seven-member, self-funded team took first place at the international Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competitionâ€”and a $2.6 million prize.
The teamâ€™s prototype, called DxtER (pronounced Dexter) works with an iPad and is designed to walk a patient through self-diagnosing 34 medical conditions, the Washington Post reports. The teamÂ beat out 312 other teams, including some backed financially by governments and corporate sponsors.
The team was led by Dr. Basil Harris, an emergency medicine doctor from Pennsylvania who founded Final Frontier Medical Devices with friends and three of his siblings to come up with device. They will now move their beta version on to the next stages of development and, potentially, FDA-testing.
Despite being based on the idea of a tricorderâ€”a handy unit that magically scans a person and reveals medical informationâ€”DxtER is a bit more clunky. Itâ€™s a shoe-box-sized kit that contains individual diagnostic devices and sensors that patients can use.
The X Prize competition, which began in 2012, challenged participants to come up with a kit weighing five pounds or less that could continuously monitor health metrics and diagnose 13 health conditions. Those conditions were: anemia, urinary tract infection, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, stroke, sleep apnea, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, otitis, leukocytosis, and hepatitis. Throughout the competition, Harris and his team added to that list.
But the devices had to do a little more than the fictional tricorder, which seemed to just serve up medical information and stats to Dr. McCoy. These X Prize tricorders had to be able to come up with a diagnosis on their own, too. This led Harris and his team to develop an iPad-based app that walks patients through questions, then algorithms based on a bank of patient data interpret the answers and diagnostic data.
Harris is hopeful that future, fully-developed versions will improve care, giving patients a way to monitor their health on their own, and provide needed diagnostics to under-served communities.
The second-place prize went to Dynamical Biomarkers Group, a team of 50 doctors, scientists, and programmers led by Harvard doctor, C.K. Peng. The project was financially backed by cellphone company HTC and the Taiwanese government. Their team received a $1 million prize.
from Ars Technica http://ift.tt/2ph5Zm5