Six months ago, we reported on the group of Johns Hopkins undergraduates who were in the running to win the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. Then, they were one of 30 qualifying teams vying for the award. This week, the odds got even better when the group advanced to the finalist stage, making them one of only 10 groups still in the running.
The 10 groups are competing to see who can do the best job at making the famous Star Trek tricorder, a small diagnostic computer, into a reality. The Hopkins group, which goes by the fancy tech company name Aezon Health, says they’ve made a mobile device that can diagnose conditions ranging from strep to mono to HIV through evaluating vital signs and other data. One good sign: their website has gotten a lot fancier since the last time we checked in with them!
Other finalist teams are helmed by doctors, biomedical engineers, and experienced entrepreneurs who boast about things like having 200,000 combined man-hours in embedded systems and IT. The Hopkins group probably doesn’t even have 200,000 combined man- (and woman-) hours on earth; as far as I can tell, they’re the only group of undergrads to make it to the final round.
Let’s hope it works and works well–the next round of the competition, which takes place in March 2015, involves consumer testing of the finalists’ devices. The final winner of the $10 million prize will be announced in January 2016.
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