Investors Funding this Gizmodo in Tricorder Competition Big-Time


Silicon Valley heavyweights are backing Scanadu, a scanning device that measure various body metrics wirelessly, and is mobile.  The Scanadu is entered in the “Qualcomm X-Prize Competition“, and seems to be the front-runner to wind the prize of $20 million dollars

Discussion of the medical  Scanadu needs a bit of background information to understand just what it is.
In the science fiction series, “Star Trek“, the tricorder was a handheld device that diagnosed medical conditions, by scanning the ill person,  and recording and analyzing data.
Enter Qualcomm, a wireless technology company based in San Diego into the scene.
In May, 2011, the company created the Qualcomm X Prize, to be awarded to the team that, essentially develops a real-life Tricorder, that adheres to the following specific requirements: 1) that it be handheld, weigh less than 5 pounds
2) That is has the ability to diagnose 15 diseases in 30 patients over 3 days.
Now, at this point, perhaps we can maintain perspective of this idea of Qualcomm by reading some words of Sir Arthur Clarke, the author of Space Odyssey 2001:
“Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction: 1) It is impossible, 2) It’s possible, but it is not worth doing, and 3) I said it was a good idea all along.”
Qualcomm  seems to believe that current recent growth in the technologies of wireless, broadband, artificial intelligence, etc make the creation of such a device possible.  As Peter Diamandis , XPrize CEO said, “We launch X-Prizes when we think the technology is at a tipping point”.
So far, there is one leading contender for the prize, a start-up from Mountain View, California, called Scanadu.
Scanadu has assembled top scientists, and engineers at the NASA Ames Rearch Park in Silicon Valley to work on the project.   Heading Scanadu is Peter Brouwer, who says that the development will be done in stages.
One of the first stages will be the device will collect internal information via the device from the patient who is ill. This data will be processed by a “tracking agent”, who then connects to the doctor for the diagnosis.  This will, of course, keep the doctor involved, but will decrease the need for an office visit, and, moreover, the doctors’ office.
Scanadu hopes to accumlate mountains of data from social media generated ill person feedback.  In addition, it is experimenting with a “hyperspectral camera”, which attempts to find if there is a color connection to certain diseases.  For example, certain types of cancer may be associated with a specific color wave.  
And recently, Scanadu acquired the services of Canadien Peter Jansen., who has done some independent work on his idea of a Tricorder.  Dr. Jansen  is a polymath, with a background in astro and optical physics, cognitive aritifical intelligence, and medical imaging.  Whew!  He believes that “Medicine must become an information science.”.  See his BLOG.  And, see the video below, to more fully understand Scanadu.



Scanadu  aims to create a commercially-viable medical tricorder in the next 3 – 5 years.

Advances in sensors, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing technology, along with the coming ubiquity of mobile phones, makes this device possible.







1 Comment

  1. C.W. Juhl says:

    So far this device is all hype and no substance. “Earlier this week, [Scanadu] offered Re/code a glimpse of the hockey-puck-shaped gadget . . . Upon arrival, we were told we couldn’t actually try it out — ” re/code April 4, 2014, 5:45 PM PDT – a week after the first investigational devices were to allegedly have shipped. To date not a single person who allegedly received one of those mythical devices from the “flawed” first run has come forward to share their initial experience, and no member of the press or the medical community has reported every actually trying out even one of the prototypes allegedly used in the “Scanathons.

    That of course would not be a first for its founder, who appears to have a long history of grandiose schemes with little results.
    “Once you get inside the firm, you see that what they are good at is marketing, but not much good at getting things done,” – Former Starlab employee commenting on the closing of the company founded by Walter De Brouwer (2001)

    Deja vu?

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