Star Trek's Tricorder Now Officially Exists Thanks To A Global Competition

One of the original Tricorders used in the TV series. Bruno Vincet/Getty Images

“This Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE generated a critical mass of diverse and qualified teams, enabling nearly five years of experimentation and iterations, that ultimately resulted in an extraordinary outcome,” Marcus Shingles, CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, said in a statement.

This is far from the end of the road for the Tricorder, however. The purpose of the competition wasn’t just pure curiosity, but to discover the very best of human ingenuity – to create a genuinely revolutionary and portable medical device.

The team behind Final Frontier, and seemingly the runner-ups, will be given funding and experts to help advance their devices beyond the prototype phase. The Qualcomm Foundation has committed $3.8 million, and they have also requested a proposal for a $2.5 million grant for the University of California, San Diego, to help them get involved too.

The Roddenberry Foundation will also bequeath an additional $1.6 million towards the adaptation of the teams’ Tricorders for actual use in hospitals and developing communities across the globe. A facility in Mozambique will be the first to get to use the devices in real-life situations.

“Creating technology breakthroughs in an industry as complex as healthcare is quite a milestone,” Dr Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated, noted. “What these teams accomplished is a great stepping stone to making mobile healthcare a viable option across the world.”

The competition's scale. XPRIZE via YouTube

Affordable, portable, and easy-to-access healthcare devices and equipment is all the rage these days, and for good reason – without it, plenty of remote places or conflict zones lacking access to huge funding bodies would be helpless without them.

This competition has created the first versions of exactly the sort of device the medical world has been crying out for. DxtER is indubitably a medical device that will help the world live long and prosper.

Still, that’s not the coolest fact about it. In the original TV series, the Tricorder first appeared in the 2230s. This means that, thanks to life imitating art, humanity has invented one about 210 years ahead of “schedule”.

The winning team. XPRIZE

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