Sci-fi health scanner would help consumers

STAR Trek aficionados will know Dr ‘Bones’ McCoy used a tricorder to diagnose afflictions, but it’s been suggested patients could use such a device to triage themselves.

The non-profit X PRIZE Foundation in the US is offering a prize of $10 million to develop a handheld scanning device for quick diagnosis.

The prize will be awarded to whoever can invent a tricorder that can diagnose patients “better than or equal to a panel of board-certified physicians”, collaborator Qualcomm Inc said in a statement.

“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?’” the statement said.

By having consumers take the initial actions to obtain health assessment data, the use and the quality of physicians’ time would improve, said Don Jones, vice-president