Trek Meets Science: $10 Mil Tricorder Prize + Star Trek TNG Guest Star To Lead Starship Project

This week brings a couple of interesting intersections of real science and Star Trek. First up the X Prize Foundation has launched a new $10 million competition for the development of a real "Tricorder," like those seen on Star Trek. Plus DARPA is continuing with its 100 Starship project and this week has awarded a contract to lead the project to a foundation headed by a former astronaut (and former Star Trek guest star).


$10 mil to come up with a real Medical Tricoder

At the CES tradeshow this week the X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation announced the launch of the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, a global competition to revolutionize healthcare. According to the official release:

In this competition, teams will leverage technology innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence and wireless sensing – much like the medical Tricorder of Star Trek® fame – to make medical diagnoses independent of a physician or healthcare provider. The goal of the competition is to drive development of devices that will give consumers access to their state of health in the palm of their hand.

The $10 million top prize will be awarded to the team that develops a mobile platform that most accurately diagnoses a set of 15 diseases across 30 consumers in three days. Teams must also deliver this information in a way that provides a compelling consumer experience while capturing real time, critical health metrics such as blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature.

In his keynote at CES Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs said:

“Health care today certainly falls far short of the vision portrayed in Star Trek. By sponsoring the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE competition, the Qualcomm Foundation will stimulate the imaginations of entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and doctors to create wireless health services and technologies that improve lives, increase consumer access to healthcare and drive efficiencies in the healthcare system. This competition will accelerate the development of tools that can empower consumers to take charge of their own bodies and manage their own care.”

For more information about the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, visit:

X Prize Foundation and Qualcomm want to make Star Trek’s medical Tricorder and make it a reality

Former astronaut (and Star Trek guest star) chosen to lead Starship project

Previously TrekMovie has reported on DARPA’s "100 Year Starship" project, which is exploring what it would take to put together a multigenerational mission beyond the solar system. And this week it was confirmed that former astronaut, and Star Trek: The Next Generation guest cameo, Dr. Mae Jemison will be heading up the effort. Jemison’ Foundation has been selected by DARPA and awarded a $500,000 contract to continue study of "the technological, political and social requirements for ultra-long-term projects such as interstellar space missions."

Jemison is best known for becoming the first black woman in as part of the STS-47 Spacelab J flight in 1992. And in 1993 Jemison appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Second Chances," playing Lieutenant Palmer. A genuine Trek fans, and friends with Nichelle Nichols, Jemison began each shift of her real space adventure by informing Mission Control "hailing frequencies were open." She was also the first of three "real" astronauts to appear on Star Trek, followed by E. Michael Finke and Terry Virts.

More info at MSNBC Cosmic Log.

Dr. Mae Jemison in 1992 for her Shuttle flight, in 1993 on Star Trek: TNG and in 2011


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My iPhone diagnosis all my ailments via the google app. Sometimes it foes promonce me dead but I blame that on pesky nanobots

Auto correct sorry

Too bad Dr. Jemison isn’t leading a real starship mission, even if it’s just another planet in the solar system.

I’m anticipating a sharp uptick in self-misdiagnosis if these medical tricorders do come to pass. All the advanced technology can’t replace a trained professional who actually knows how to interpret the data.

Here’s another article on the realities of Trek science:

Actually this tricorder idea might be closer than we think.

Add some / various USB accessories (via a breakout box) for testing temp, saliva, bp. heart rate, perhaps blood sugar etc- then wirelessly connect to IBM’s Watson medical diagnostics software.

Looks like they have already started building the multigenerational ship. :)

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Still, if people could just somehow scan themselves with the device, then send the data to the professionals, it would greatly streamline the process. No more wasting time in waiting rooms!

Sounds like a great idea. Looks like Star Trek is at it again. A Show set in the 60s still producing great ideas for today.

1 – lol epic fail. This is great news, I love to see Treknology emerge in the real world.

Yet an other reference to the number 47. The most infamous number in Trek history

I think its a great idea to try and make the tricorder possible. It could help millions of people

Been saying for years, “build that tricorde”. Doctors never have seemed to know what’s ailing me. Get me something dependable.


So, Bones was the most sensible member of the bunch all along? :p

This sould be great, but how would it work without any actual physical contact? I can see temperature, heartrate, respiration, and maybe some chemicals given off in sweat as being “scanned” without touch.

If dogs can be trained to find a cancer by smelling its location on a patient then an electronic nose integrated into this tri-corder could be the 1st step. Apparently we produce a different odour when we’re sick.

Electronic Eye (senses)
Electronic Nose
Electronic Brain
= Tri-Corder

Spell checker sorry – should be

Electronic Eye (sensors)
Electronic Nose
Electronic Brain
= Tri-Corder