In the 1960’s the crew of the USS Enterprise were boldly going where no man had gone before. Star Trek opened people’s imaginations to the possibilities of the future. Back then the idea of the ‘Medical Tricorder’ (a device which diagnoses diseases instantly) was pure fiction but that didn’t stop us at XPRIZE, we saw it as a challenge, and have made this Sci-Fi fantasy a reality.
In 2012 we launched the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. Thirty-four teams across the globe began to develop the technology needed to create a fully functioning Medical Tricorder. One of these teams, Cloud DX is already making real world changes in the East African country of Mozambique, which is in the midst of a Tuberculosis epidemic. The infectious disease which is spread from person to person via tiny droplets from coughs and sneezes claims 160,000 lives per year in Mozambique alone.
Cloud DX and XPRIZE are working with Mozambique’s national health service and have developed the Vitaliti app which does not require any new hardware but instead transforms any smartphone into a Medical Tricorder. The app collects the audio of a user’s cough, compares it to a database of coughs stored in it’s cloud and is able to help identify the root cause. The user can then determine the correct form of medical care to proceed with. This gives thousands of people living in rural areas who do not have access to medical facilities the chance to diagnose, treat and reduce the spread of this highly infectious disease, saving thousands of lives per year.
The work happening now in Mozambique does not just impact this one country and this one disease. Accessible healthcare throughout the world should be a universal right but currently our fellow citizens in developing economies are being left behind. The Vitaliti app equalizes and democratizes healthcare and scaling it up to increase the breadth of it’s database could have a truly global impact on the diagnosis of other respiratory infections like COVID-19 and any future pandemics.
This innovation is at the heart of the XPRIZE legacy, making the impossible, possible.