On “Star Trek,” doctors were able to diagnose ailments with the quick scan of a tricorder.
Now, the organization that developed the X Prize series to foster the development of citizen space travel and vehicles that could travel 100 miles on a gallon of gasoline will offer a $10 million prize to anyone who can develop a diagnosing tricorder.
Peter Diamandis, founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, and Qualcomm CEO Peter Jacobs announced the new competition Tuesday at the Qualcomm keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show.
The CES trade show floor opened this morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Venetian to an estimated 140,000 people in Las Vegas for the largest exhibition of consumer electronics in North America.
The show runs through Friday.
In addition to seeing thousands of products, attendees are hearing from industry leaders in keynote addresses, panels and technical demonstrations.
Qualcomm’s wide-ranging presentation featured views of innovations in health care, education and entertainment.
In addition to the announcement of the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, Jacobs introduced cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer of Scripps Health in San Diego, who demonstrated devices that could capture cardiograms on smart phone screens and a wristwatch that could monitor a person’s vital signs.
Topol said he recently used the technology to determine that a fellow passenger on an airliner was suffering a heart attack. The plane made an emergency landing and the passenger was transported to get medical help.
He said a vital signs monitor could warn someone of a pending medical emergency.
“And if you capture a cardiogram on your smart phone, you can send it to your doctor or your Facebook friends,” he joked.
In collaboration with Qualcomm, a company that makes processors and computer chips, Topol said, the company is developing a noninvasive blood sugar monitor for people with diabetes.
The health-care applications were among several explained by Jacobs and several technology partners.
Jacobs and Lenovo Senior Vice President Liu Jun showed the Lenovo Smart TV, the first to converge an Android operating system with a television using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors.
After showing off the quick voice-activated search capabilities of the television, Jacobs brought out Melvin Ming, president of the nonprofit Sesame Workshop, who is using “Sesame Street” characters to expand learning capabilities for youngsters using immersive interactive television.
“I never know what I’m going to be doing from day to day and whether I’m going to be spending time with children,” Ming said. “I’m actually relieved to be in the room with some tech-savvy adults.”
But “Sesame Street” Muppet Grover stole the show with a demonstration using inanimate toys that came to life in a virtual room on a television screen when their images were captured by a tablet camera. The technology enables children to stretch their imagination by interacting with their toys.
Jacobs also showed how the Snapdragon chips are used in game technology, demonstrating Fight Game Heroes, a mixed-martial arts video game.
MMA fighter Alistair Overeem, who defeated Brock Lesnar in UFC 141 in Las Vegas last week, came on stage and issued a challenge to fans to fight him — in a game, not in the ring — at the Qualcomm booth Wednesday.
Prior to the Qualcomm keynote, Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro said his association, which operates CES, is projecting a 3.7 percent increase in consumer electronics sales in 2012 to $200 billion in the United States and $1 trillion worldwide.
Last year, Shapiro predicted 3.5 percent growth and it actually increased by 7.9 percent.
Shapiro cited the industry’s ability to innovate and to be catalysts for change. He noted that Twitter and Facebook communications drove the Arab Spring for democracy last year and that the world first learned about Osama Bin Laden’s fate as a result of a social media posting by a neighbor commenting about a commotion at the compound in Pakistan where Navy Seals ambushed the al-Qaeda leader.
Social media and technology also were key to rescue and relief efforts following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, he said.