Qualcomm based in San Diego has been working with the X Prize Foundation and the biggest part of the challenge here is to create the rules.  We live in a very complex and complicated society where “algorithms” and formulas have entered into almost any area of business, our personal lives and so imageforth.  Maybe competition of this fashion needs a make over.  When you look at the project wanting a device that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of physicians, what’s up with that?  Is is a dream or is it capable of doing without violating a patent somewhere along the line?

Furthermore, who’s technology can those who enter use or does this need to be created from scratch totally?  The reason I mention this fact is that in software today as a comparison, we are very modular and do I or anyone else out there start from scratch anymore, heck no.  In addition we have technology coming out our ears in healthcare and some of it is a bit strange in nature and of course a device of such would have to have full audit trails and be HIPAA compliant along with a bunch of other requirements too.  Is there anyone or small companies out there who would have the money to hang in there with all of this? The prize is $10 million and you wonder if the development and research would go beyond what the prize money would offer.  You can ask a few biotech companies and Health IT companies perhaps that have bit the bullet with some of their efforts. 

We all remember the last one by WellPoint on the X Prize offering $10 Million for a solution to solve our country’s healthcare issues.  It died and of course there’s no solution on solving our issue out there yet as it requires laws, technology, collaboration and so forth, so in essence it didn’t work.  The initial offering on that X Prize was created in April of 2009 and kind of died a slow death I think.  The puzzle of solving healthcare is the US is a bigger and more difficult nightmare than ever. 

X PRIZE Foundation for HealthCare – Is the Incentive High Enough

At the same time as the X Prize was announced for Healthcare, a very successful retired MD in Los Angeles put out a prize of $75 million for groups to come up with a non surgical way to sterilize cats and dogs.  The rules here are specific and the program is on the way with many groups working on the project and the reward is about $65 million more than the WellPoint offering.  Dr. Michelson was quoted in stating that $10 million was not enough for his project. 

$75 Million to Sterilize Pets With A Non Surgical Procedure - $10 Million to Build a Better Health Care System in the US

In addition I am guessing the X Prize for genomics is still alive and well but the face of technology and cost of sequencing by commercial companies is kind of leading the way here as well, so we have the Polonator from George Church who entered which is now old technology and we have semi conductor desk top gene machines out there today.  So it does make you wonder about the methodologies used here for such a prize?  Does it still work? 

Genomics – Who’ going to win the X Prize?

Some of the earlier challenges were met through the program but again with current day technologies bursting out at the seams all over today, can this effectively be conducted without perhaps a string of legal cases?  The article here states it’s going to take 6 months to create the rules and with the way technology moves today, those could stand to be amended the day they are releasedWe have companies today with algorithmic formulas that can change business models in 48 hours or less, role out the new structure and begin closing plants and shifting people around or laying off and we see it all the time in the news.  We don’t have a Congress that can respond to this and we all know how long it takes to create a law so perhaps with creating the rules for this contest they might be sharing some of the same complexities as lawmakers.  Just recently the President released an executive order for all federal agencies to submit their plans to improve customer service and their use of technology within 6 months.

President Obama Issues Executive Order To Federal Agencies to Improve Customer Service And Use Technology To Accomplish

This really get interesting with being pulled in both directions here with technology as when you look at the other side, we have Senators who voted down funding cloud technology too, so digital illiteracy at work there for sure and this just shows the various levels people are at with working with and using technology for a comparison and why things get so confused and misinterpreted today.

Senate Cuts Cloud Services From Budget That Would Allow for Data Center and IT Infrastructure Consolidation–Back to the 8 Track Tapes Next?

It will be interesting as this moves along to see how complicated the rules get and if they are open enough to where someone can actually compete and stay within the parameters set forth.  I just see collaboration as a better way of doing things and perhaps the days of hanging out carrots for such complicated competition efforts could be numbered.  There’s another such project out there backed by Heritage and former HHS director Mike Leavitt on a $3 million dollar competition to find the “code” and/or “algorithms” to figure out re-admissions for hospitals and I wonder about the clarity on that as well.  I used to write code and know how to query and create the stuff and you still have the humans at the end who “interpret” all of the information and how they use it and in today’s world we see both use and misuse all the time.

Heritage Providers Continues to Promote $3 Million Dollar Prize to Create An Algorithm To Predict and Prevent Hospitalizations

By the way as a footnote, Dr. Michelson mentioned above with his competition for cats and dogs won a huge lawsuit years ago against Medtronic for patent infringement for several of his surgical devices he created, so again when you put this in perspective of “prize” offerings and today’s complexities, can this methodology still work and how much are those algorithms worth that create solutions today that hopefully don’t infringe on anyone else's territory worth?  BD

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs revealed today that the San Diego-based wireless technology giant has been working with the X Prize Foundation to develop criteria for a new $10 million X Prize grand challenge that is straight out of Star Trek—a “Tricorder X Prize.”

The idea—which is still being distilled—is to offer a $10 million incentive prize to the team that can develop the first diagnostic device that actually works like the ubiquitous medical tricorder of Star Trek fame. Generally speaking, the technology would have to be portable, use wireless sensors, be minimally invasive, and capable of providing rapid, low-cost diagnoses of medical ailments and injuries. Oh, and organizers also want the gadget to be able to diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board-certified physicians.

For now, however, the more immediate challenge lies in establishing the ground rules for a fair competition.

“It’s got to be really difficult, but not impossible,” said Ching. She estimated that developing guidelines for the Tricorder X Prize would take about six months—a process that Qualcomm is funding—and the foundation would likely formally announce the challenge sometime next year

Qualcomm and the X Prize Foundation Move to Energize Diagnostics with $10M ‘Tricorder Prize’ | Xconomy


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