tech

How A Washing Machine Can Help Design a Safer ICU

Berg, the company the brought along fun internet-connected concepts and products such as the Little Printer released this interesting video recently. The amazing part of this is that Cloudwash is foundational and will just be built on. It shows where the current state of the Internet of Things is and where it can go in the future. What Berg did was amazing to me. It took a regular “dumb” appliance with software and electronics that were trapped in and made the interaction richer and its meaning and value richer. In a way, they radically changed the way I viewed how devices could be connected and created the possibility for a new class of devices in our daily lives. And in a way, I saw so many parallels to healthcare. In the video, Berg mentioned how the action of washing clothes can be quite complicated. There are baroque symbols on how clothes should be treated and this in turn is reflected by different sets of complicated icons on machines. Healthcare delivery can be far more complex though. “In any given hospital, as many as 15 medical devices, including monitors, ventilators and infusion pumps, are connected to an ICU patient, but because they are made by different companies, they don’t “talk” with one another. Patient-controlled analgesic pumps that deliver powerful narcotics, where a known side effect is respiratory depression, aren’t linked...

The Closest Thing We Have to a Real Life C-3P0: Doctor Robonaut

  A new post in IEEE Spectrum discusses the recent development of NASA’s Robonaut, a humanoid robot that may be tasked to perform medical procedures, including surgery, at the International Space Station and possibly en route to Mars. This research is all very preliminary, so it’ll be quite a while before Robonaut is asking any astronauts to please state the nature of their medical emergency. But as we start to rely more and more on robotic systems in space (as well as on Earth), having access to a capable generalist platform that can, if necessary, become an effective doctor on demand, will (let’s hope) enable us to head out into the solar system with more confidence....

Medstart’s Blue Button Challenge: The Best New Ideas in Medical Technology

The 2nd annual MedStart was hosted by Tufts University School of Medicine on January 17-19, 2014. This year, The Blue Button Boston Innovation Challenge brought together diverse minds from relevant fields of study (medicine, business, technology, engineering) to collaborate over a weekend to create a startup company. The code-a-thon was an opportunity for providers, patients, and the developers of consumer facing technology to come together to learn about Blue Button, identify high priority use cases, and build exciting new products ready to receive Blue Button...

Making the Most of the iPad Mini on Medicine Rounds

On my birthday a few years ago, I was lucky to get an iPad Mini from my husband. I already had an iPad and had shared my experience. In fact, we gave all of our residents iPads (one of them contacted Steve Jobs and got a response), and documented an improvement in efficiency on the wards. So why the Mini? What is all the fuss? Why is the Mini the new must-have for doctors and future doctors? 1. It fits in your white coat! Yes, while there were entrepeneurs who started creating the iCoat, the truth is who wants to wear a coat with a huge pocket on the side? This means that you also don’t need to wear the “strap” that we require our residents to wear for the iPad since we did not yet invest in the iCoat. 2. You can hold it in one hand! This for me is the best part and very underappreciated point in the blogs and reviews I have read. This means you can touch the screen with one hand while you are palming it with the other. I don’t even have the largest hands so I would say it definitely was just at the reach of my palm grasp, but I can imagine it would be perfect for my male colleagues. 3. It fits in your purse! While the female docs may find palming the iPad mini...

7 Things Everyone Should Know About Google Calico

1. It’s Google’s latest venture and it’s focus is unraveling the secrets of aging and longevity. Not immortality per se (though, it is Google after all, so I’m not going to rule it out) but a more broad spectrum approach to looking at all aspects of health, aging and what kills us.   2. Calico will have some pretty solid Google-resources moving forward. Since Google has some stake in 23andMe, you can be certain the genomics will be a major focus of Calico’s investigations. Genetics too are known to play a role in disease and factors that influence longevity.   3. Larry Page, Google’s CEO, doesn’t see Calico as Google’s “cancer cure”. In fact, in an interview with the New York Times, Page points out that even if we were to “solve cancer” we wouldn’t be tacking on that many years to the average life expectancy. Cancer’s tragic, sure, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as prevalent as other conditions that are just as likely to prevent us from, you know, living forever.   4. Remember the name: Arthur Levinson Although Page made the official announcement regarding Calico, the project is actually being spearheaded by the guy who replaced Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple. Apple and Google, the two technological megaliths, are teaming up to work on health care? Bazinga.   5. Calico isn’t going...

Practice Surgery On the Go With T@uchSurgery

Touch Surgery might be the new best app for med students…especially those who want to pursue a surgical field. Using thorough lessons, simulation and practice tests, the app (for iPhone and Android) walks you through several common surgical procedures; from an appendectomy to knee replacements. The simulations are interactive, requiring you to respond precisely to the instructions for making incisions, retracting and suturing. As you progress through various modules, you can save and track your progress. The simulations are even in 3D, so that the student can get “real life” experience with different surgical procedures. It’s like a Da Vinci Robot on the go! Touch Surgery is a really neat learning tool designed with the med student in mind; even if you aren’t gunning to become a surgeon, the app is actually really fun– and it’s free. You can “operate” on the subway, in the bathtub, or even over your morning...

These Guys Want to Explore Your Dreams. No Inception, They Promise.

What’s your routine when you wake up? For many (like me) it involves a furious rubbing of the eyes, 2-3 huge yawns, a series of exaggerated stretches straight out of The Exorcist,  and a slow, lumbering walk to the bathroom. But as you begin your day, there’s always that shadowy feeling that you’re forgetting something, and in fact, you are. Studies have shown that within 5 minutes of waking, half of your dream is forgotten; within 10 minutes, 90% is gone. So in those first few minutes in between the rolls, yawns, and stretches, we are losing an inordinate amount of data churning through our subconscious adventures. Well now, with the help of Hunter Lee Soik and his new app, Shadow, you can really begin to organize, track, and analyze what exactly is going on in that crazy head of yours. The app will use motion sensor technology to track your sleep patterns to create a smarter smart alarm, one where you can choose the best moment to wake up, maximizing dream recall and starting your day out right. You’ll then be able to record your dreams on the app via voice or text. Once the data is recorded in the app, you can decide how far to share it, and with more use, SHADOW visualizes your sleep and dream patterns, and identifies common themes.   For some extra REALLY COOL facts about Dreams: 1. Blind...