Invent a real Star Trek tricorder, win $10m

Invent the Star Trek tricorder, win $10m
Beam me up, Scotty - sorry Star Trek fans

Time to put your money where your mouth is, Trekkies/Trekkers – well, Qualcomm's money, as the company is offering a $10 million (£6.5 million) to whoever can build a real life tricorder.

There are a few caveats to the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize which was launched this week at CES 2012 – your gadget will have to actually work, so it needs to be able to capture health info (presumably stuff like blood pressure, temperature etc) and be able to diagnose 15 diseases.

And, because it'll have to be usable, it can't weigh any more than 2.2kg.

Already out of Star Trek catchphrases

Star Trek's fictional tricorder is a handy gadget that can diagnose what's ailing a person simply by scanning them.

It was first thought up in 1966 and now, 45 years later, the time is ripe for it to hop from science fiction to science fact.

Peter Diamandis, X Prize Foundation chairman, isn't too worried about shelling out that $10 million any time soon.

He commented, "The challenges are: What is it you detect, what are the samples you can get and how do you put it all together in one gizmo?

"I don't think there'll be many people getting that prize in the near future."

So you have to ask yourself, why bother?

"What we're looking for is to launch a new industry. The tricorder that was used by Spock and Bones inspires a vision of what healthcare will be like in the future," he said.

"It will be wireless, mobile and minimally- or non-invasive. It may use digital imaging, it may be sequencing your DNA on the spot to tell you if you are allergic to something you just ate."


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Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.