X-Prize Foundation answers my tricorder competition complaints

Second in a series. This message from the X-Prize Foundation is in response to the letter I sent Qualcomm's CEO.

They seem to feel the contest is fine as-is and my objections are without merit.

Dear Bob,

I am the Senior Director in charge of this competition and I appreciate receiving your letter of interest dated January 11.  First, let me offer you my highest level of encouragement for your creation of a SIDS monitoring device. As you know, medical technology is one of the most difficult areas to make significant progress in. To make something really work and pass through all the regulatory hurdles in this space is challenging as you point out.  Second, my sincere personal condolences on the loss of your child. I understand and respect your total commitment to solve this challenging problem and admire your dedication and passion to address this urgent need.

We announced the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE in January 2012 and spent a year refining the guidelines and structure of the competition, which includes the winning parameters, registration fees, rules and a timeline.  The guidelines were finalized and released this month after receiving input from the scientific and medical communities, companies working in this space, and the general public.  We are asking teams to develop a medical device that will allow consumers to diagnose a set of 15 diseases and monitor 5 vital signs, independent of a healthcare provider or facility.  While we recognize that there are a number of unique new technologies, including yours, that address important public health concerns, we could not include every one of them in this competition. We did choose a range of core and elective conditions that are widely recognized as being significant for public health in North America and also offered a wide range of sensing and interpretive challenges.

As of today there isn’t an integrated personal health device on the market that does everything that we’re requiring in the guidelines. That is the essence of the competition and sets the stage for a unified solution that can capture data from many types of sensors, potentially including yours. As with many innovation competitions and Prizes, there is a registration fee required to participate.  The registration fee, which is $5,000 until April 10th, helps us cover operational expenses such as numerous team and judging summits, ongoing communications to many stake holders, comprehensive device testing and judging processes that are essential to staging a fair and objective competition.

Please realize that we are a competition that intends to drive innovation and help to usher in a new digital health marketplace. We are not investors and in fact, we are not even the Judges who will act totally independent of us in determining the finalists.  Our goal is stimulate an influx of consumer devices on the market in the near future. Even if you decided not to compete, the overall effect of these competitions will help to lift all boats in the digital health space, including yours we believe.

I encourage you to consider entering the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE and/or Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE, or join a current pre-registered team and incorporate your device into their submission. Although SIDS is not one of the defined conditions in the requirements it does not mean that the inclusion of your technology would not be advantageous to existing teams who all seek to commercialize their solutions.  Inventing, developing, funding and bringing to market medical technology is a very difficult endeavor and a team approach may help.  At the X PRIZE Foundation, one of our jobs is to provide a forum for sharing ideas, concepts and new technologies that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. That has been a guiding principle of this and all our competitions. We hope that you will consider becoming involved on this basis.

If you have additional questions or would like to speak further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely

Mark Winter

Senior Director, Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE and Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE

Reprinted with permission

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