I say all of this because Andrew Conrad at Google X, their secret fortress of ideas, is working on on making the tricorder from Star Trek a reality. And that’s not just geeky space talk from me in order to describe what they’re actually doing, Conrad says as much himself in this interview with BackChannel:
We use Star Trek as our guiding force around Google because there used to be a computer called Tricorder —you’d talk to it and it would answer any question. That’s what we’re really looking for at Google X. We want to have a Tricorder where Dr. McCoy will wave this thing and say “Oh, you’re suffering from Valerian death fever.” And he’d then give some shot in a person’s neck and they’d immediately get better. We won’t do the shots—our partners will do the shots. But we’re hoping to build the Tricorder.
How about that! Mix that with some Romulan Ale and drink it down. Mostly because you’ll be able to see if it is killing you long before it actually does.
The basic concept behind Google’s new device would allow doctors to diagnose your problems before you go to the doctor and run through a bunch of tests that may or may not be necessary. The tricorder is certainly the best reference, but I also like Elysium’s little sick beds:
Basically, Google X is creating a system for early detection of disease that involves ingesting specially “painted” nanoparticles that target various molecular harbingers of disorder. If the nanoparticles find these microscopic malefactors, they send out signals that will be picked up by wristbands. The early alerts means that potentially deadly ailments might be apprehended soon enough to be dispatched by minimal treatments. (via)
Now this is all well and good. But getting people to do something willingly, especially if it will help them, usually ends up being a tougher task than you’d think. Not to mention you have all the whackos that oppose this sort of stuff on religious grounds, the doctors that attempt to hold onto outdated methods for profit, and the general sh*ttiness of the healthcare industry in general.
Still, one day we might be growing new kidneys for our grandmothers. This is step one.