This article focuses on efforts made by different companies and research teams in combining technologies to improve medical diagnosis. Performing some Star Trek-style medical diagnostics may take nothing more than a clever smartphone app. In order to claim the prize, however, teams will have to combine multiple technologies and miniaturize them into a device that can fit in the palm of a hand. The main goal of the X Prize competition is to give consumers, healthcare providers, and insurers new resources to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes. Pulsewave MAX, an advance over the company’s Pulsewave heartbeat and pulse measuring system, is bulky compared with other X Prize contenders; its sensors are embedded in an arm cuff and finger clip and were designed for immobile hospital patients. Apps can use smartphone cameras to look at other vital signs. Scandu is building on its existing technology in its entry for the Tricorder X Prize. A Cornell University associate professor of mechanical engineering, David Erickson, has led a team that developed a device that works with a smartphone application to detect cholesterol by analyzing color changes in a test strip.

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