Nonlinear Thinking: The Future of Medical Services

This is one of the most potentially transformative,  disruptive, and exciting technologies we’ve come across in some time. 

Qualcomm has teamed up with the X PRIZE Foundation to promote innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies.   They’re offering $10 million in prize money to the team of entreprenuers who create a mobile device which is easy for individuals to use and is capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases

Qualcomm further defines the concept and competition on their website,

Advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, wireless sensing, imaging diagnostics, lab-on-a-chip, and molecular biology will enable better choices in when, where, and how individuals receive care, thus making healthcare more convenient, affordable, and accessible. The winner will be the team whose technology most accurately diagnoses a set of diseases independent of a healthcare professional or facility, and that provides the best consumer user experience with their device.

The Prize: Empowering Personal Healthcare

As envisioned for this competition, the device will be a tool capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases. Metrics for health could include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements.

Given that each team will take its own approach to design and functionality, the device’s physical appearance and functionality may vary immensely from team to team. Indeed, the only stated limit on form is that the mass of its components together must be no greater than five pounds. But because an important part of the qualifying round will be evaluating consumer experience in using it, the limitations set by this competition will force teams to make choices. Teams will have to consider tradeoffs amongst weight, functionality, power requirements, battery life, screen resolution, AI engine location, diagnosis capability, end consumer cost, and so on.

Beyond the weight requirement, there is no limit as to how many discrete components constitute a viable solution. For example, teams may use sensors that are attached to a phone-like control unit, fastened individually to the consumer, or kept apart and reserved for occasional use or home monitoring. Similarly, teams may create a tool that has a large screen, a small screen, or perhaps even no screen (audio only). Systems must include a way for consumers to store and share their information, which must be accessible remotely via the Internet. Additionally, teams are expected to follow guidelines and protocols that help ensure that consumer safety is held in the highest regard. This includes avoiding harm from electrical energy, thermal energy, chemical exposures, needles, lancets, and infection.

Think about the far reaching impact such a device will have on the economy and society at large.  We have no doubt that Dr. iPad will be making house calls in the next few years.  Simply amazing!

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2 Responses to Nonlinear Thinking: The Future of Medical Services

  1. kman says:

    star trek tricorder

  2. Pingback: Nonlinear Thinking: Wireless Doctors | The Big Picture

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