Meet the 34 teams vying for the Tricorder X Prize

By Jonah Comstock
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PulseWave Max Biosign's PulseWave MAX

CloudDX (Biosign) -- Markham, ON, Canada

Biosign, entered into the competition as CloudDx, will be entering a device called Pulsewave MAX into the competition.

"To qualify for the X-Prize Finals in April 2014, a “Tricorder” has to measure 5 vital signs, continuously log that data in the Cloud, and correctly diagnose three common diseases, all within current medical ‘best-practice’ standards. Currently no single device can come close to this," the company writes on its website. "Biosign owns part of the solution: Pulsewave MAX can currently measure all 5 vital signs simultaneously (blood pressure, oxygen, ECG, heart rate & temperature). We are in the process of forming collaboration with a partner company that owns the other half: a remarkable new technology that can detect pathogens & analyzes from a single drop of fluid (saliva, blood or urine). Combined, we believe that our technologies constitute a qualified “Tricorder” X-Prize Finalist entry."

DNA Med Institute -- Cambridge, Massachusetts

The DNA Med Institute has been developing its rHEALTH sensor for a use case very appropriate to the Tricorder X Prize's Star Trek nomenclature: diagnostics in space. "The rHEALTH sensor is designed to extract a multitude of diagnostic information from a single drop of blood," reads the company's website. "Although designed for use in reduced-gravity environments in space, the technology can be applied to real-time health monitoring at patient’s bedside or in a doctor’s office, and allow for real-time clinical intervention in acute situations." The company has partnered with NASA, the NIH, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Doc-In-Box -- Tempe, Arizona

There's not a lot out there about this team, except that it's headed by Stephen Albert Johnston, the head of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Johnston was dreaming up a "Doc in a box" concept -- "a box you could put on your dining room table that could assess hundreds to thousands of components from a drop of blood to determine your health status," according to a piece in a local newspaper -- as early as 2005.

Dynamical Biomarkers Group -- Zhongli City, Taoyuan County, Taiwan

This team represents the Center for Dynamical Biomarkers and Translational Medicine, a Taiwanese research group founded in 2011 with a grant from the country's National Science Council. The team is led by Chung-Kang Peng, a Harvard Medical School professor currently on leave to work with the National Central University in Taiwan.

Final Frontier Medical Devices -- Paoli, Pennsylvania

This team, whose name is also a nod to Star Trek, is made up of two brothers: Basil Harris, an emergency room physician, and George Harris, a network engineer. The team was founded expressly for the competition, and the brothers aren't saying much about their entry.

InSilixa -- Sunnyvale, California

This team, led by Arjang Hassibi, writes on its website "InSilixa is building the next generation of high-performance CMOS biochips for microarray technology, qPCR, and DNA sequencing. We are currently in the stealth mode." The team also competed in the X Prize's sister contest, the Nokia Sensing X Challenge and took home one of the five $120,000 Distinguished Prizes. They described their Nokia entry as a "hand-held and fully-integrated point-of-care (PoC) DNA-based diagnostic tool".

Juxtopia Imhotep -- Baltimore, Maryland

Juxtopia is a group working on various initiatives to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in underserved and urban populations. Their X Prize team Imhotep, however, is still in stealth mode.