A group of seven scientists four of whom hail from Cyprus has won a prestigious international competition for coming up with a handheld medical device similar to the tricorder used in the science fiction TV series Star Trek.
The scientists won first place in the ’XPRIZE’ competition, receiving $2.6 million for their artificial intelligence-based engine, DxtER, which can diagnose medical conditions such as diabetes and tuberculosis by integrating learnings from clinical emergency medicine with data analysis from actual patients.
The team was led by Basil Harris, a doctor in the emergency department at a Philadelphia hospital who was joined by his siblings George, Julia and Constantine, all from Vatili in the Famagusta region. Three other scientists, Philip, Charron, Andrew Singer and Edward Hepler make up the rest of the Pennsylvania-based team Final Frontier Medical Devices.
“The team brings together expertise in medicine, surgery, programming, signal processing, hardware design, medical sensors, user experience design, health policy and mobile tech,” the XPRIZE website says.
According to an article in the Washington Post, the device with external sensors collects information which is then processed in the device’s diagnostic engine to make a quick and accurate assessment.
The DxtER device was designed with the aim of providing diagnosis and monitoring of a number of diseases from the comfort of home without the consumer having medical training.
Apart from diabetes and tuberculosis it can diagnose diseases such as atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive lung disease, urinary tract infection, sleep apnea, leukocytosis, whooping cough, stroke and pneumonia. Overall, the device can be used to diagnose 34 different diseases or conditions that affect health.
The device collects data from the patient’s health history and family history, vital signs, body chemistry and biological functions to make an immediate assessment, the Cyprus Mail reports.
“The Final Frontier Medical Devices could bring a revolution in medical home care. It can diagnose whether someone is suffering from pneumonia or diabetes or other diseases and at the same time monitor blood pressure, heart rate and other vital functions. In addition to all this information it can be accessed in real time by a professional doctor something that could help millions of patients in medical deprived communities,” newspaper ‘Tricorder’ commented.
Team leader Basil Harris is a physician with a Ph.D. in engineering. He has been actively practicing emergency medicine for more than 12 years at Lankenau Medical Centre in Philadelphia. He received his undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees from Drexel and Cornell Universities. Harris has research experience in medicine and engineering with over a dozen publications.