Medical Tricorder X-Prize In Development + Microsoft Applies For Holodeck Patent

Star Trek’s future is getting closer and closer and today brings news of two pieces of "Treknology" that could be on the drawing board soon. First up the X-Prize Foundation has started to design a new "Tricorder X-Prize," and then there is Microsoft that has applied for a patent for something that looks a lot like a holodeck.


X-Prize Foundation Wants To See A Real Medical Tricorder

The X PRIZE Foundation, a nonprofit geared to incentivizing the "Challenges of our time," has announced a collaboration with Qualcomm Incorporated to design the "Tricorder X PRIZE," a $10 million prize to develop a mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians. The Tricorder X PRIZE is aimed at extending the reach of health information and services to more people by brining "understandable, easily accessible health information and metrics to consumers on their mobile devices, pointing them to earlier actions for care."

The collaboration between the X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm will bring together experts in technology usability, wireless sensors, cloud computing and mobile health to accelerate the convergence of these fields. The winning tool will enable consumers in any location to quickly and effectively assess health conditions, determine if they need professional help and answer the question, "What do I do next?"

In a statement, Eugene Wesley "Rod" Roddenberry, Jr., son of Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, commented:

It is great to see two amazing organizations — the X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm — bring the technology of Star Trek to life and make the Tricorder a reality for people everywhere.

The X PRIZE Foundation will be collaborating with industry experts and advisors to complete the Tricorder X PRIZE design in 2011. It expects to launch the competition in early 2012.

Potential X-Prize could award first to develop real medical tricorder

Microsoft Working On Real Holodeck?

Microsoft has applied for a patent for something called "Method and Apparatus for Providing a Three-Dimensional Task Gallery Computer Interface." This might not sound exciting but WineExtra notes Microsoft’s goal with this patent is to create "a three dimensional space that includes a real feeling of depth." It doesn’t sound too far off from the holodeck seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and this official patent illustration really makes the connection.

Patent illustration from Microsoft looks a bit familiar…

…like the Star Trek TNG holodeck, maybe?

Of course the holodecks on the USS Enterprise (and USS Voyager) were often malfunctioning and getting their crews into all sorts of trouble. Can you imagine the equivalent of the blue screen of death in a holodeck?

What if Microsoft ran the USS Enterprise computers

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The medical benefits would be amazing, not to mention the holodeck would be awesome. I wonder if this is for a future xbox model. Imagine living Halo!

Better yet, imagine living Star Trek!
Hmm… playing in a fictional universe by way of a device created previously for said fictional universe…

Consider your minds blown.

That’s Hilarious with Data and the blue screen of death ! Hilarious!

What happens if a crash dump occurs, which Microsoft is famous for… :)


In that case, I’d say we could get at LEAST a two-part episode out of it.

this is awesome!! :)

medical tricorders yes!
equal to or better than physicians… never…

could be a important tool.. and we have things like that already
like iphone ECGs, blood analizers that take 2 minutes to do a very trought panel, but.. physicians interpretations of data… no.. thats irreplaceable..

im a doctor.. not a machine…

Microsoft is no longer innovative. They are “working” on a holodeck, but will achieve nothing.

#8: As opposed to all the brilliant innovations you come up with on a routine basis?

Wow thats the wrong blue screen of death. Thats at best windows millennium. The sound effect is also antiquated. Also windows 7 as a rule generally doesn’t blue screen anymore.

I’ve been saying forever they need to get the medical tricorder going. No more guesses. No more having to go to this place to get an MRI. No more going to that place to get an X Ray. No more waiting and trying to schedule an appointment to an over crowded medical center or specialist who could care less. Yeah! Let’s go!

That’s a pretty nice video edit. You can even see Data’s face in the bluescreen!

I always wondered what would happen if you were on a holodeck and decided to walk in a straight line. Would you walk into the wall? Or did the floor move like a treadmill?

Come to think of it, when data was showing Riker around the holodeck in “Encounter at Farpoint”, I remember him throwing a rock at the wall and it hitting and bouncing off the wall, causing some visual distortion. I don’t recall that ever happening again. So, what explanation was given for the ability of people to seemingly walk further than the confines of the holodeck walls?


The holodeck creates a treadmill effect using focused forcefields that users walk upon. I must admit though I’d always wondered how this would work with numerous people using the holodeck at the same time and expansive simulations? How exactly do you isolate people that could in the simulation be many miles apart but in reality are really almost next to each other?

herp derp. Yeah, Apple surely found the time (in under a fortnight) to conceive and put the iPad together, successfully stealing Microsoft’s thunder.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate the iPad – but let’s flag down a cab to Real St. here. Everyone was thinking tablets at that time – it was just a matter of who put out the best one first.

A Microsoft-designed holodeck brings an entirely new meaning to “blue screen of death”. Though it does explain why every third week the holodeck was on the fritz in the TNG-era eps.


That video was made around the time Win2k and ME were out, then reposted, redux’d and what not thousands of times since.

Its old.

@9 That’s not his job… probably.


I’ve read somewhere that they achieve it by using the “graviton lenses” (whatever that might be), which give the illusion of a person being ”farther” away.


You can just project a holographic screen between the two people and project anything you want onto it. This way they seem to themselves many km apart in simulation space.

person a

——- holographic wall with picture of himalayas —-

person b

Force fields guide their movements so that they can run towards each other for miles without actually bumping into each other in the holodeck. If the distance between them decreases down to the point where they’d see each other (still much larger than the width of the holodeck), then the computer can just project an appropriately transformed image of the other person onto the screen separating them. When the distance is equal or less than their real physical distance in the holodeck, then the screen disappears and the persons can finally meet.

So the requirements are 1) force fields, 2) hologram technology and 3) enough computing power to determine the required images based on the movements of people.


In Ship in a Bottle, Data throws his combadge into the holodeck wall to prove to Picard that they are in Moriarity’s simulation.

– Harry

Just to clarify, Microsoft’s patent was for a 3d interface for computers, not in meat space. So a 3d Microsoft Windows interface.

holodeck? don’t be too optimistic. i think it’s really a plan to build a cube like in the movie CUBE. don’t be surprised if one day you wake up surrounded by 4 walls and have no idea how you got there. if i was steve jobs i would be nervous….

holodeck shmolodeck. I know a tricorder would have saved me lots of grief and money.

Holodecks… I think that most the nerds here would use them more like holosuites…

Microsoft’s “holodeck” would have better luck going mainstream if it was not sold as an interface or controller but sold as a media medium.

All media that has been picked up by the adult entertainment industry takes off like hot cakes.

And besides who wouldn’t want it then!

@14. The explaination is don’t think about it. It’s a fake piece of technology, like replicators, warp drive, and transportors. Anything you make up will be just as plausible as anything I make up.

@20. ….a graviWHAT lens?

While I’m picking on Trek tech fantasy here, what exactly is the difference between a holo-deck, and a holo-suite, other then the holo-hookers?

29. One is owned by the state (holodeck aboard a Federation starship), while the other is privately owned (holosuite owned by enterpreneur Ferengi).

Also, Reginald Barclay and Geordi LaForge would both disagree with the statement that state-owned holodecks don’t have holo-hookers.

I wonder how someone would be able to exit a Microsoft Holodeck should it malfunction, “red ring of death”-style? Would there be a seperate panel to call for help that isn’t controlled by the main computer system? Would you be able to open the doors? Would the room go dark?
Would there be enough air in case the holodeck “suddenly” died?

Another thing to ponder: If someone wanted to have sex with a holographic replica of Jeri Ryan/Seven Of Nine, would there be some law against that? Would the actress have the right to sue even if the holodeck was protected under privacy laws?


The little guy in the corner of the holodeck schematic looks like he’s about to take a piss!