A little multi-touch technology in Las Vegas

My family and I just returned from a few days in Las Vegas for a little rest and relaxation. During our visit, we had dinner at the new Hard Rock Café on the Strip. This particular Hard Rock features an interactive Microsoft Surface wall on the second floor as well as Surface screens at each booth in the dinning area and a couple of Surface tables near the wall. Of course my daughters and I spent quite a bit of time playing with the Surface wall and the Surface screen in the booth we were seated at for dinner. Well, I should say my daughters had an opportunity to play with the Surface screen at our table. I couldn’t get within a foot of it because they were having such a blast with it. 
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The popularity of multitouch technology is growing

InformationWeek: “As touch-screen hardware and tools for developing multitouch applications become more prevalent, businesses of all kinds will want to leverage the technology. Get ready to see it in all sorts of apps, including those used in retail, stock trading, manufacturing, inventory management, healthcare, appliance repair, and delivery services. Touch-sensing interfaces aren’t new — operations as diverse as the U.S. Postal Service and McDonald’s are using them. But these systems are based on users making a single point of contact with the screen, and they don’t support gestures. Compare that with the emerging class of multitouch sensing that lets users interact with devices using more than one finger and employing a drag-and-drop capability. For instance, users pinch their thumb and forefinger together to shrink a photo. Users of MacBook Pro, with its multitouch trackpad for manipulating objects, are familiar with multitouch, but the technology is just gaining traction on other platforms. Besides Microsoft, Qt Software is supporting it with QTouchEvent and QGestureEvent classes in the Qt 4.6 framework.” – It looks like the only people not interested in multitouch technology are those in healthcare and the makers of my Droid, i.e. Motorola. Doh!

“What’d I miss?” – Week of November 5th

As usual there were a lot of things that happened during the week, and not all of it was pharmacy or technology related. Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff I found interesting.
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Fujitsu playing healthcare angle with Windows 7 touch features

eWeek: “Health care is a particular market that can benefit from the combination of touch- and pen- input combined with multitouch, and Moore offered the example of a physician meeting with a patient: viewing the patient’s records vertically, turning the tablet PC horizontally to view an X-ray, and quickly pinching or expanding his or her fingers to take a closer look at the image. “There’s a lot of intuitiveness here,” said Moore, and with built-in connectivity, “There’s no more, ‘Can you get me that chart?’ By the time the patient leaves the office, the prescription is at the pharmacist.’” – I agree that Windows 7 has potential to make a big impact on healthcare for the exact reasons mentioned above. Touch is good, people.

As I said in a previous post: “Touchscreens are becoming more and more popular, especially with the increased use of smartphones, UMPCs, and MIDs. Touchscreen navigation on these smaller devices is a must if you hope to make them useful to the user. While a touchscreen isn’t a necessity on larger device yet, it is a welcome luxury. Like most great technological advances, it will take quite some time for touchscreens to filter down into pharmacy, but I think it’ll eventually get here. After all you don’t have to use the touchscreen for navigation, but it sure would be a nice option to have. Imagine entering an order on a CPOE system with nothing more than the tip of your finger. If properly designed, the physician wouldn’t have to type anything. Simply tap a pre-built link with the drug, dose, route and frequency desired and hit “send’. “

Looking forward to clinical advancement with Windows 7

HealthBlog: ““For example, as the use of tablet PCs within healthcare continues to grow, many of us will welcome the improved hand-writing recognition facility in Windows 7. It also learns, so the recognition gets better the more I use it.” He says the same is true for voice recognition: “I just talk to my PC and it does what I want, from opening programs to dictating letters.” The true party piece of Windows 7, though, is its support for touch – not just touchscreens but what has come to be called ‘gesturing’; support for a sophisticated but more naturalistic way of interacting with technology. “Clinicians are able to zoom in on an image by moving two fingers closer together, like they’re pinching something, or zoom out by moving two fingers apart,” says Dr Crounse. “They’ll even be able to move an image on the screen by rotating one finger around another, and right-click by holding one finger on their target while tapping the screen with another.” This sort of natural manipulation of text, images and multimedia will make computer equipment less obtrusive in the clinician-patient relationship; and should make technology accessible to many communities which use healthcare extensively, yet were previously somewhat overlooked by IT: for example the elderly.” – I’ve been a proponent of touch technology for quite a while and firmly believe that it will have a positive impact on healthcare professionals. We’ve already seen an explosion in the number of devices developed to take advantage of Windows 7 and multi-touch technology. I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Windows 7 to install on my tablet.

How to perform an autopsy without getting dirty.

Norrköping Visualization Centre and the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization in Sweden have developed a Virtual Autopsy Table. The table makes use of high resolution MRIs to create incredible 3D images that can be manipulated on the table via multi-touch technology.
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