The dire need to improve healthcare and health in the U.S. is a problem whose solution has evaded the brightest minds. The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is a $10 million competition to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, making definitive health assessment available directly to “health consumers.” These technologies on a consumer’s mobile device will be presented in an appealing, engaging way that brings a desire to be incorporated into daily life.
More than one billion people worldwide lack adequate housing. The cost, speed, and technologies of home construction have not changed in centuries. This competition seeks to bring to market new approaches to construction that will re-invent housing, making it very robust to natural disaster, low-cost energy, sanitation, and broadband-enabled utilizing modern-day technologies. This competition will ultimately usher in a new paradigm of affordable, sustainable, and dignified housing.
In a world of ATMs and online banking that can provide reliable and secure records, blood is shed and nations are upended over the simple counting of votes in places ranging from Florida to Tunisia. The creation of an accurate, verifiable voting technology would be a crucial advancement in the promulgation and sustaining of democracy.
There are countless talented potential entrepreneurs in Africa. However, the training and support for these entrepreneurs to build scalable businesses are lacking. Creating success stories and role models of entrepreneurs able to build new start-up companies that employ significant numbers of individuals will help eliminate poverty in African nations.
The humble cookstove is surprisingly the most mundane of killers. More than two billion people worldwide use biomass cookstoves, which can require hours to gather sticks and other fuel every day. Each year, nearly two million people, mostly women and children, die from carbon monoxide and other poisoning produced by incomplete combustion from these cookstoves.
Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people than any other curable infectious disease, with nearly two million victims annually. The most widely used test, smear microscopy, is 125 years old and routinely misses half of all cases and, in many regions, takes too long to get results.
A staggering two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency, which is perhaps the most prevalent and the most addressable part of world hunger. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals (e.g., iodine, iron, vitamin A) that prevent brain damage and forestall disease. A group of Nobel-laureate economists ranked micronutrient interventions as the single most cost-effective way to combat global poverty.
Space research costs today are dominated by expensive launches, precluding many interested researchers, students, and companies from engaging in the field. Developing a very low-cost, robust capability to take scientific instruments to the edge of space (200,000 feet) on a dedicated basis will shepherd in a new era of low-cost flight for academic and corporate R&D.
Tens of millions of pieces of debris are currently orbiting Earth at altitudes that pose a danger to satellites and human spacecraft. The threats from such debris are predicted to rise 50 percent in the coming decade and quadruple in the next 50 years. Large object collisions are particularly dangerous, due to the ensuing creation of additional debris. The threat is both to spacecraft in orbit and to those that need to pass through the gauntlet of debris to reach their intended orbit. This XPRIZE seeks a low-cost, scalable method to safely and efficiently dispose of orbital debris.
We currently lack high-resolution maps of nearly 75 percent of the planet’s surface and know more about the surface of Mars than about the floor of Earth’s oceans. Improved knowledge of the ocean floor improves exploration, navigation, basic geological discovery, and economic development.