The tricorder was a handheld device, featured on the Star Trek shows and movies, that is able to diagnose a wounded or sick patient in seconds.

Here at the World Economic Forum in Davos, we have learned from a source that, by the end of this year, there will be working prototypes of three handheld devices that are each able to accurately diagnose 15 diseases as well as any doctor.

We’d describe the source of this information more, but the World Economic Forum is held under something called “The Chatham House rules,” wherein reporters are able to share information they’ve heard here, but not allowed to describe its source.

We can say that the creation of the three devices is the result of a competition put on by an organization called XPRIZE.

XPRIZE is an organization that awards multi-million dollar prizes to groups that are able to invent certain technologies.

For example, in 2004, XPRIZE awarded $10 million to Mojave Aerospace Ventures after it successfully flew SpaceShipOne on the world’s first private space mission.

The three diagnostic handheld devices are each entries into another contest, called the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. According to the XPRIZE website, “the winners will be the (up to) three solutions achieving the highest diagnostic score regarding a set of 15 distinct diseases in a group of 15-30 people in three days.”

Currently, there are 10 finalists vying for the prize. Our source says it looks like three of them will have working gadgets by the end of the year.

Here’s a video XPRIZE put together when it launched the competition:

Image credit:  Joe Haupt | Flickr

Via Business Insider