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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