Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Making Science Fiction a Reality

*This article is the first entry in our Sci-fi to Reality Tech series.

We live in a digital age where once far-fetched science fiction is turning into reality. Super computers, tablets, touch screens, and the Internet in the palm of your hand is not only normal, but a necessity. One of my favorite things about SXSW is the new tech and organizations I learn about and the amazing people who are literally enabling science fiction from TV shows like “Star Trek” to become a reality. Cue the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE.


Prior to SXSW I had not heard of XPRIZE. Like me, I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck is an XPRIZE. Here’s the short version, but I encourage all of you Shufflers to get your geek on and visit XPRIZE to learn more about this amazing organization.

“XPRIZE is an innovation engine. A facilitator of exponential change. A catalyst for the benefit of humanity.We believe in the power of competition. We believe that challenges must be audacious, but achievable, tied to objective, measurable goals. We believe that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere and that some of the greatest minds of our time remain untapped, ready to be engaged by a world that is in desperate need of help. Solutions. Change.” (

Well if that already doesn’t blow your mind and make you wish you had paid more attention in science and math class, then let’s delve into the Qualcomm Star Trek Tricorder XPRIZE. Teams are competing to bring the famed Tricorder from “Star Trek” to life, to fill the need of a healthcare industry and make diagnosing conditions easier for families who can’t necessarily afford the money and time to go to the doctor for a “what if” situation.


With the soaring global population, the need for cheap and accessible diagnosing devices in not only the developed world, but third-world countries will be a welcome necessity in family households.

For most of us, our phone is our world, (updating our statuses, mapping our way home, banking, etc.): why wouldn’t carrying a handheld device that could potentially save your life be a priority like updating our status? Take a look at what the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is aiming to solve in the video below:

With a $10 million prize at the stake for the winning team, of course there’d be some major guidelines to follow to qualify. XPRIZEs are not won quickly, with the average lifespan of an XPRIZE to be about 4 years from start to finish. The Qualcomm Tricorder, as you can imagine, a great feat, so the deadline was extended for the final teams.


Currently, there are 10 teams in the final running. The coolest thing about the XPRIZE is that multiple teams can win. The ultimate goal here is to find the best devices that will work well for the public and ultimately help solve the healthcare crisis we have today all over the world. Healthy competition breeds innovation from everyday citizens of the world? Who would’ve thought?

I had the chance to speak to the minds behind the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE including, The Doctor himself, Robert Piccardo, Grant Campany, Prize Lead, Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and Rick Valencia SVP, Qualcomm Life.

Please stay tuned on Shuffle Online for the second part of our Sci-fi to Reality Tech Series! Don’t forget to follow XPRIZE on Twitter (@xprize), Instagram (@x.prize), and Facebook (Xprize).

Follow Catherine Gutierrez on Twitter @things_catloves.

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