The New X PRIZE Wants to Save Your Life, Star Trek Style

Illustration for article titled The New X PRIZE Wants to Save Your Life, Star Trek Style

The X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm are partnering to try to make the Tricorder—Star Trek's famous health-diagnosing gadget—a reality. They are offering up $10 million in purse money. This may be the most practical X PRIZE yet.

The gadget that takes the X Prize must enable a person to accurately diagnose themselves (without going to a doctor or hospital) and it has to be "easy and fun to use". This is one piece of sci-fi that I can't wait to have as a reality, and I think the rest of the 99% are with me on that. Get to it, geeks!

Illustration for article titled The New X PRIZE Wants to Save Your Life, Star Trek Style
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Illustration for article titled The New X PRIZE Wants to Save Your Life, Star Trek Style

Image credit: The RPF forums

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DISCUSSION

There's another problem here, of a statistical nature.

If the scanner searches for indicators of relatively infrequently occurring conditions (for example, HIV)

Even with a very accurate scanner (99% or better), the probability of a false positive can be 50% or higher. You would always want a second opinion from a medical professional for just about anything hard to diagnose. And if it's EASY to diagnose, do you really need a scanner to tell you that you have lupus?