A global competition announced in 2012 challenged 34 research teams to produce a lightweight device that consumers could have at their fingertips to diagnose a health condition or monitor their vital signs without the need to consult a medical professional. 

Final Frontier Medical Devices in April 2017 claimed the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize for its DxtER finger clip device. This technology uses a non-invasive method involving light wavelengths to measure blood glucose and hemoglobin concentrations and leukocyte count. It has the capacity to diagnose 34 diseases. 

Now, Final Frontier Medical Devices team member Philip Charron will give a talk on this revolutionary technology at the 69th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting, in a special session on July 31, marking the first time that that the device will be presented to researchers at a U.S. scientific conference. Joining Charron for both the special session and a Meet the Expert session on August 1 will be members of Tricorder XPrize finalist and semi-finalist teams, Chung-Kang Peng, PhD, of the Dynamical Biomarkers Group, and Eugene Chan, MD, of the rHEALTH Sensor team. 

Peng is co-director of the Rey Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, while Chan is CEO and head scientist of the DNA Medicine Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Teams that participated in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize were charged with developing a tricorder device that weighed less than 5 pounds, could diagnose up to 13 medical conditions, take 5 vital signs continuously, and yield a positive consumer user experience, Grant Campany, senior director for the XPrize, said during a video presentation. 

Most medical devices today are developed for healthcare professionals to diagnose a specific condition. “This is a first to the world application of these devices,” Campany said. 

Peng and his team developed the Dynamical Biomarkers Group Smart Test Kit, the prototype of which Peng is hoping to commercialize for use in areas with limited medical resources, like China. 

Chan plans to discuss his team’s rHEALTH Sensor, a semifinalist entry in the XPrize competition. 

Several final rounds took place in the competition, with ten teams advancing in 2014. Organizers narrowed it down to two in 2016: Final Frontier Medical Devices and Dynamical Biomarkers. To get this far in the competition, devices had to diagnose those 13 health conditions—such as pneumonia, anemia, diabetes and urinary tract infections—with 70% accuracy. 

To actually perform a diagnostic test, finalists had to query device users about their symptoms and use algorithms to reach a suspected diagnosis. 

Experts hope that these consumer-friendly devices will help to empower patients and reduce healthcare costs by promoting at-home care and preventive measures. With their expertise in obtaining accurate data, labs can play a part in guiding important conversations about these evolving technologies. 

For a sneak peek at the future of laboratory medicine, attend the XPrize special session and Meet the Expert session at AACC’s 69th Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in San Diego July 30-Aug. 3.