Bath Science Café: Diagnostics on demand - Realising the science of the Star Trek Tricorder

The Tricorder of Star Trek remains (for now) in the realm of science fiction. However, the next Bath Science Cafe on monday 11 February looks at a competition launched in the USA aimed at producing a medical Tricorder.

The talk will be delivered by Professor Chris Frost, Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath. His research is focused on creating new chemical techniques for biosensing in medical devices.

Professor Frost’s talk will explore the launch of the X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation ‘$10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE’, a global competition that aims to revolutionise healthcare.

The competition is part of a recent drive to make medical diagnoses independent of physicians or healthcare providers, and to develop devices that will give consumers access to their state of health in the palm of their hand.

The development of portable biosensors that enable on-site diagnostics providing real-time results at lower costs for health organisations and patients are becoming a commercial reality - just look at progress in glucose monitors and home pregnancy test kits.

In the Tricorder competition, teams will leverage technology innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence and wireless sensing - much like the medical Tricorder of Star Trek fame.

In his talk, Professor Frost will look at the scientific background and recent progress in the development of robust and highly selective electronic biosensor devices that can be used for point-of-care and field applications, and used by non-specialist staff for detecting different molecular targets relevant to disease diagnosis and treatment. He will also outline the research that needs to be done to fulfil the requirements of the next generation of rapid molecular point-of-care diagnostic devices.

Bath Science Cafe is a free event that takes place at The Raven in the centre of Bath at 7:30pm. For more information please visit

The official Twitter hashtag is #BathSciCafe.

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