Star Trek’s Dr. “Bones” McCoy made no bones about the state of 20th Century medicine — invasive, primitive, “Dark Ages,” were a few of his pejorative terms for modern medicine. In the 23rd century, Bones and other starship crew members used hand-held devices called “tricorders” that instantaneously diagnosed people’s injuries or sicknesses — and healed them as well. “It’s a wonder anyone made it out of the 20th century alive,” he once sniffed.
Early next year, the X Prize Foundation — noted for competitions to in private space travel and moon probes — announced it will be launching a $10-million-prize competition to any team that can design the first functioning tricorder, that “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?’” Quotes from the first article cited below. Read the rest of this entry »