The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, which launched last year, has been narrowed down to ten finalists. The $10 million prize will go to the best wireless device capable of tracking health.
Like the Tricorder used in Star Trek to monitor health and diagnose conditions wirelessly, the X Prize aims to find a device that does the same. All the research in this area is part of the reason affordable health tracking is appearing in gadgets like heart rate monitors in phones and wearables.
The X Prize judges have picked 10 finalists from a range of backgrounds including universities, medical device manufacturers and start-ups.
The competition will end next year with the decision of finding a winner based on working prototypes of their devices. The prize will go to a device that's expected to monitor vital signs as well as diagnose 16 different conditions including anaemia, tuberculosis and diabetes. It must deliver the information in a user friendly way so patients can self-diagnose.
Scanadu, a Silicon Valley start-up, showed off its device in an early version at CES last January.
SCANurse is a UK-based finalist that can use light to detect blood flow and oxygen levels. Other sensors are able to detect gases in breath that can indicate diseases. It even uses an ECG to assess heart health.
Dr Richard Seabrook, Wellcom Trust heath charity, told the BBC: "There was 'a debate to be had' on whether such devices should be placed in the hands of patients, stressing the need for training and education. But 'If it creates time for them to spend on more complex cases, then that would be a good thing' he said".