Category Archives: Medical

Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize Winners Announced

Peter Lobner

In my 24 December 2016 post, I reported that the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize committee had selected two teams to continue into the finals: Dynamical Biomarkers Group and Final Frontier Medical Devices.   On 12 April 2017, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize committee announced the winners…and yes, there were two winners:

“Of the 300 teams that joined the pursuit of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, Final Frontier Medical Devices and Dynamical Biomarkers Group were both announced winners at the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE awards ceremony on April 12, 2017.

Final Frontier Medical Devices was announced the highest performing team and received $2.5M for their achievement and Dynamical Biomarkers Group received $1M for 2nd place. Both teams exceeded the competition requirements for user experience, nearly met the challenging audacious benchmarks for diagnosing the 13 disease states, and with their prototypes, have taken humanity one step closer to realizing Gene Roddenberry’s 23rd century sci-fi vision. XPRIZE congratulates Final Frontier Medical Devices and Dynamical Biomarkers Group on their amazing achievements.”

Learn more about Final Frontier Medical Devices and their winning tricorder named DxtER here:

Learn more about Dynamical Biomarkers Group and their 2nd place tricorder system comprised of three modules here:

OK, neither XPrize tricorder prototype looks like Dr. McCoy’s hand-held tricorder seen on Star Trek (the original series), but the automated diagnostic capabilities offered by the XPrize tricorder prototypes really are a giant leap forward in the development of tricorder technology for the real world. The Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize competition has been successful in making this happen on an accelerated schedule.

McCoy and his tricorder. Source: Star Trek (the original series), Desilu Productions

Star Trek Tricorder replica. Source:

Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize Competition Down to Two Finalists

Peter Lobner

I described the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize competition in my 10 March 2015 post, “Medical Tricorder Technology is Closer Than you Think.” The goal of the competition is to develop a real-world equivalent of the Star Trek Tricorder, with the following basic capabilities and features:

  • Diagnose at least 13 different health conditions including the following nine required conditions: anemia, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, leukocytosis, pneumonia, ottis media, sleep apnea and urinary tract infection.
  • Weigh less than five pounds

At the time of my last update in December 2015, the following seven teams had been selected to compete in the extended Final Round for $10 million in prize money.

  • Aezon (U.S.)
  • Clouddx (Canada)
  • Danvantri (India)
  • DMI (U.S.)
  • Dynamical Biomarkers Group (Taiwan)
  • Final Frontier Medical Devices (U.S.)
  • Intellesens-Scanadu (UK)

Each of these teams submitted their final working prototypes for evaluation in Q3 2016. On 13 December 2016, Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize announced that they had selected two teams to continue into the finals:

“Congratulations to our two final teams, Dynamical Biomarkers Group and Final Frontier Medical Devices, who will proceed to the final phase in the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. Both teams’ devices will undergo consumer testing over the next few months at the Altman Clinical Translational Research Institute at the University of California San Diego, and the winner will be announced in Q2, 2017.”

Both teams are required to deliver 45 kits for testing.

The XPrize will be split with $6 million going to the winning team, $2 million going to the runner-up, and $1 million for the team that receives the highest vital signs score in the final round. An additional $1M already has been awarded in milestone prizes.

The two competing devices are briefly described below. For more information, visit the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize website at the following link:

Dynamical Biomarkers Group

DBG_TricorderSource: Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize

 Key system features:

  • Comprised of three modules: Smart Vital-Sense Monitor; Smart Blood-Urine Test Kit; Smart Scope Module.
  • Includes technologies for physiologic signal analysis, image processing, and biomarker detection.
  • Smartphone app executes simple, interactive screening process that guides the users to carry out specific tests to generate disease diagnosis. The phone’s on-board camera is used to capture images of test strips. The smartphone communicates to the base unit via Bluetooth.
  • The base unit uploads collected data to a remote server for analysis.

Final Frontier Medical Devices: DxtER

DexTR_TricorderSource: Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize

Key system features:

  • DxtER is designed as a consumer product for monitoring your health and diagnosing illnesses in the comfort of your own home.
  • Non-invasive sensors collect data about your vital signs, body chemistry, and biological functions.
  • An iPad Mini with an on-board AI diagnostic app synthesizes the health data to generate a diagnosis.
  • While DxtER functions autonomously, it also can share data with a remote healthcare provider.

Best wishes to both teams as they enter the final round of this challenging competition, which could significantly change the way some basic medical services are delivered in the U.S. and around the world.

San Diego Bioprinter and Cosmetics Firm Team Up to Manufacture Human Skin

Peter Lobner

The 20 March 2015 Pete’s Lynx post, “Scalability of 3-D printing (additive manufacturing)”, addressed the use of 3-D printing to manufacture skin for treating burn victims, either by separately manufacturing skin for use in conventional grafts, or by directly printing new skin onto the burn wounds.

A new application for the use of manufactured human skin in cosmetics testing is being explored by San Diego bioprinting firm Organovo Holdings, Inc. and French cosmetics firm L’Oreal. This is the first potential application of this technology in the beauty industry, and it appears to offer an effective means to test new cosmetics and conduct other advanced research while complying with the 2013 European Union ban on animal testing.

The Organovo website is:

You can read the press release on the partnership between L’Oreal USA and Organovo to develop 3-D bioprinted skin tissue at the following link:

The press release states that:

“…the collaboration will leverage Organovo’s proprietary NovoGen Bioprinting Platform and L’Oreal’s expertise in skin engineering to develop 3-D printed skin tissue for product evaluation and other areas of advanced research…… Organovo’s 3D bioprinting enables the reproducible, automated creation of living human tissues that mimic the form and function of native tissues in the body.”

Those of you who watch the BBC TV series Dr. Who may already see another application of this blend of bioprinting + cosmetics technology as a means for maintaining Lady Cassandra, who, after 708 plastic surgeries, has been reduced to a translucent piece of skin stretched across a frame.

Lady_Cassandra Source: Wikipedia

Virtual Reality Headsets Coming to Market Slower Than Expected Because Many Induce Motion Sickness

Peter Lobner

At the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, several developers of virtual reality systems designed to immerse players in 3-D games and video acknowledged problems with users suffering from motion sickness. The big players in this market include Oculus VR teamed with Samsung (Oculus Rift), Sony (Project Morpheus), and Microsoft (HoloLens).

OculusRift Oculus Rift

PS4-VR-Headset Sony Project Morpheus PS4

microsoft-hololens-4 Microsoft HoloLens

In an interview at the developer conference, Gabe Newell, the president and co-founder of Valve, said he, too, had reacted badly to most headset demonstrations, describing them as the “world’s best motion sickness inducers.”

Read more about this issue at the following link:

One solution proposed by researchers at Purdue University is to add a virtual reality “nose” in the middle of the user’s field of vision in virtual reality, right where it would be in real life.

Read more about this novel solution at the following link:

Scalability of 3-D Printing (additive manufacturing)

Peter Lobner

We are only now starting to see the very broad implications of 3-D printing technology in many disciplines, some of which would not be considered as traditional “manufacturing” activities. Since the “ink” can be almost anything, and the scalability of the technology is vast, the potential applications are much broader than the early applications conceived so far.

Here are a couple of examples that illustrate the scalability of 3-D printing technology and show how the computer system driving the printer adds a layer of intelligence needed to manufacture remarkable products.

Where do you see applications for this technology?

Medical application: Treating burn victims

In Feb 2015, Wake Forest School of Medicine announced that it had designed, built and tested a printer capable of printing skin cells directly onto burn wounds. The “ink” is actually different kinds of skin cells. A scanner is used to determine wound size and depth. Different kinds of skin cells are found at different depths. With this data, a computer guides the printer as it applies layers of the correct type of cells to cover the wound.   Read the story at the following link:

Another approach for treating burn victims was announced in 2014 by the University of Toronto. Their solution is called the “PrintAlive” 3-D bioprinter, which is  capable of manufacturing continuous layers of tissue – including hair follicles, sweat glands and other human skin complexities – onto a hydrogel that can be used in place of conventional skin grafts. Read the story at the following link:

The students who developed the PrintAlive machine were the Canadian winners of the 2014 James Dyson Award, that is intended to that celebrate, encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.

Construction application: Building a house

This is a really large-scale application of 3-D printing technology that also requires a stock of certain parts that are more easily emplaced where needed rather than printing them in place (i.e., windows, doors, floors and ceilings). Additive manufacturing could be used to separately produce most of these emplaced items.


Read the article and see the 6 min video of the construction process at the following link:

Medical Tricorder Technology is Closer Than you Think

Peter Lobner

You probably remember scenes from Star Trek in which a Tricorder was used by Mr. Spock or Dr. McCoy to measure and analyze almost anything. That technology is closer than you may think.


Qualcomm is sponsoring the Tricorder XPRISE, which “is a $10 million global competition to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, helping consumers make their own reliable health diagnoses anywhere, anytime.”

Ten finalist teams have been selected. As part of the Final Round, teams will compete in both diagnostic experience evaluations and consumer testing, slated for mid-to-late 2015. The final judging and awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in early 2016.

Go to the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRISE website for details and, if you wish, sign up for their newsletter.

22 May 2015 Update

On 16 April 2014, Dr. Erik Viirre of the XPRISE organization spoke to the Lyncean Group about the Tricorder XPRISE.  You can find more details on this talk on the Lyncean site, Past Meetings tab.  Following is the direct link:

On 17 December 2014, Lambert Ninteman of San Diego State University (SDSU) spoke to Lyncean Group about their entry for the Tricorder XPRISE. You can find details on this talk and the associated presentation on the Lyncean site, Past Meetings tab.  Following is the direct link:

17 December 2015 Update

XPRISE announced the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE has been officially extended through early 2017, providing the seven finalist teams with additional time to make refine their tricorder devices to ensure they can succeed in the competition. You can read details at the following link: