Meet the 34 teams vying for the Tricorder X Prize

By Jonah Comstock
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ScanaduTeams have been preregistered for the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize -- a handheld medical scanner competition backed by the Qualcomm Foundation -- for nearly a year. In fact, 255 teams were reported as preregistered last year. But representatives of the $10 million prize have now announced the 34 teams that have completed the full registration and paid $5,000 to $10,000 entry fees (depending on the timing of their registration.) This is the first time the prize has publicly disclosed all the participants.

"We're in what now is called the qualifying round," Dr. Erik Viirre, the technical and medical director of the prize, told MobiHealthNews. "So this is a process where, in the spring, a website will be opened where teams will be submitting documentation of [their entries]. We will have a series of expert judge panels review this documentation and rank them. The top ranked teams will be invited to then participate in the finals of the competition, in the winter of 2014."

The first in-person event will be next week, when teams will meet up to give formal presentations, assess the competition, and possibly discuss partnerships if teams have complementary strengths and weaknesses. X Prize officials will also go over the minutiae of the competition guidelines with the teams. The event will not be open to the public or the media.

The 34 teams come from across North America, Europe and Asia. A few are already known commercial companies like Scanadu, while others have no public information available except their name, city of origin, and team leader. Here are the 34 teams:

Scanadu -- Moffet Field, California

Scanadu probably needs no introduction. The company, led by CEO Walter de Brouwer, raised a record breaking $1.6 million on Indiegogo to build its home medical scanner device. X Prize technical and medical director Viirre, however, said the company does not have the competition locked down.

"Scanadu has done a lot of things and had a very public face about their technology and their efforts and we think that's fabulous and a real demonstration of the value of this technology," he told MobiHealthNews. "That said, the technologies Scanadu has talked about publicly would not be competitive in the finals of the competition."

On the other hand, de Brouwer has told MobiHealthNews in the past that marketable consumer product is a higher priority for the company than the prize.

Aezon, formerly Aegle -- Baltimore, Maryland

Aezon, led by Tatiana Rypinski, is the new official name of the Johns Hopkins Tricorder X Prize team. The team's approach includes a cloud infrastructure, which uses Blueprint Health-backed Symcat for symptom evaluation; a wearable device for continuous vitals monitoring; a modular, Bluetooth-enabled lab box for additional tests; and a smartphone app to act as the user interface for the system. The team is made up of undergraduate students from different Johns Hopkins University departments and partnered with the Center for BioEngineering Innovation and Design.

Algonquin College -- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This Canadian university team, led by John Omura, isn't publicly sharing much about its contest entry yet. However, Algonquin College is a vocational school with a focus on technology and it recently partnered with Palomino System Innovations to open its Health and Wellness Research Centre. An early project of the Centre focused on mobile EHRs.

Alpha Lab -- Yuseong-Gu, Daejeon, South Korea

This South Korean entrant is something of a mystery. The team is led by a Bill Choi, who could be the same Bill Choi as the CEO of nanoLambda, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based sensor company working on bio-chemical detection and wearable health monitoring, among other things.

BioScan.me (Intention Technology) -- Ridge Manor, Florida

Although entered into the competition as BioScan.me, this Florida-based tech company is now known as Intention Technology. Team leader Tracy Ingraham has focused on biofeedback and predictive analytics for hospitals. He participated in a Sarasota, Florida TedX talk, which can be viewed online here.

Danvantri (American Megatrends) -- Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

The only Indian entrant in the competition, Danvantri seems to offer a wide range of products, but the area most likely to form the basis of their Tricorder entry is its AMI Vitals+ system, which the company describes like this: "AMI Vitals+ is a unique system in which NiBP (Non-invasive Blood pressure), Pulse Oximeter and temperature are combined into a small form factor device which gets controlled from a mobile device. AMI Vitals+ supports Android and iOS phones and tablets and also desktop users. Patient can check the vitals at home and pay the Hospital/Doctor through EHR login for the consultation which will be integrated with the Hospital HIS."

Distributed Health Labs -- La Jolla, California

DH Labs is another university spinoff team, this one coming out of the University of California, San Diego. The team sports a diverse team from around the world with backgrounds in a number of different subjects. "The DH global tricorder team spans disciplines from Nanoengineering and Medicine to Machine learning, Cryptography, crowd sourced archeology and human and computer ethnography," the company writes. "We are unified in our goal to produce an affordable transformative and open product to enable health-care around the world."