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Qualcomm and the X Prize Foundation announced today that they will award $10 million to anyone who invents a “tricorder,” or a magical medical and information scanning device like the one used in the Star Trek science fiction series.

In the fictional Star Trek universe, a tricorder is a multifunction handheld device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and recording data.

From the sci-fi TV show, the tricorder was a general-purpose device used to scout unfamiliar areas, analyze living things, and review technical data. The medical version helped Doctor “Bones” McCoy diagnose and heal patients.

The prize will go to whoever is able “to develop a mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians.”

Qualcomm and X-Prize made the announcement ahead of the keynote speech by Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today.

The competition will kick off in early 2012.

For more news out of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, be sure to check out VentureBeat’s live coverage from CES 2012.


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