Star Trek Tricorders Within Arm's Reach






Star Trek Tricorders Within Arm's Reach
Image credit: ThinkGeek.com
In the Star Trek canon, doctors use a small device called Medical Tricorders that are able to make diagnosis based on a patient’s condition. And now it looks like a real-life version of those tricorders may be ready for launch.

The Qualcomm Tricorder is a handy medical gadget that can currently diagnose 13 different conditions. Anemia, Diabetes, Sleep apnea, Urinary track infection, and Atrial fibrillation are among the diseases that can be diagnosed by the Qualcomm Tricorder.

Two medical teams at the University of California, San Diego, are currently tweaking the device. $10 million in prize money awaits the medical team who successfully complete the project. It is currently in the final stages of consumer testing.

Unlike the tricorders used in Star Trek, the Qualcomm Tricorder can be used by actual patients. The contest demands medical teams to create a gadget that weighs no more than 5 pounds. 

One of the medical teams is being led by brothers Dr. Basil Harris, an ER physician, and George Harris, a network engineer. The brothers are founders of Basil Leaf Technologies.

"I thought, this thing can't be that hard, it's what I do in the ER, making diagnoses," says Basil. "I found a small group of people who would listen to me, mainly my family, and we got together and started banging the thing out." 

The other medical team making adjustments to the device is spearheaded by Dr. Chung-Kang Peng, a professor from Harvard Medical School. Peng's vision is to provide healthcare to people who cannot access it easily, making the Qualcomm Tricorder perfect for his cause. 

"In the long run, I'm optimistic that this kind of system will be used so patients can self-diagnose," says Peng. "Maybe in the future, you just need to transmit info to a doctor remotely, who will give out a prescription. Most importantly, this could happen in rural areas that don't have any health infrastructure."

Star Trek is one of the most beloved TV series of all time not only because it allows people to get a glimpse of a fictional yet often-accurate future but also it drives the human race to become better humanitarians. In the words of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jean Luc Picard when asked about the economics of the future, he said, "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity."

Its positive influence on the world is what drives scientists and medical professionals to follow in Star Trek’s ideals, and develop gadgets based on the show’s props. The Qualcomm Tricorder is the latest indication, although there are other products that are being developed that have obviously been patterned after some of the show’s most innovative apparatus. Additionally, companies have begun tapping into Star Trek’s popularity and launching casual titles to remind us of how forward thinking the show was, and still is to this day. 

In the Google Play Store, there's a game called Star Trek: Timelines, which was released at the start of 2016, for fans of action games. There's also a Star Trek: Red Alert game that is hosted on the specialist slots gaming site, Slingo, which was developed for casual gamers. Like Star Wars, Star Trek will never die given the hundreds of spin offs that fans seem to enjoy without interruption. 

At this point, both aforementioned medical teams are close to complete their testing processes. After that they will wait for the organizers of the competition to evaluate their gadgets. The winner of the contest will be announced early next year.


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