The stuff of science fiction decades ago has a way of becoming science fact as time rolls on. Sometimes what it takes to get engineers and researchers into the mood to invent is a nice competition along the lines of the Ansari X Prize that resulted in the tech that Virgin Galactic is using in its future fleet of spacecraft to take passengers into space to enjoy weightlessness.
The X Prize foundation is now moving from a spacecraft to offering a $10 million prize to the person or team that can invent a real life tricorder, like the one Bones used on Star Trek. The Tricorder was the medical device used on the old sci-fi series and allowed the doctor to diagnose injuries and illnesses without having to poke or prod the patient.
A real tricorder would change medical diagnostics for sure. The tricorder prize is a daunting challenge. Professor Jeremy Nicholson, head of the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London said that bringing the tech to a handheld device to win the prize would be daunting. He said the tech would likely need to be something that detects metabolites. He then points out that the machine used in his lab is the size of a Mini. He expects the price will not be won soon.