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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Roadside drug test anyone?


Technology Review: “Later this year, Philips will introduce a handheld electronic device that uses magnetic nanoparticles to screen for five major recreational drugs. The device is intended for roadside use by law enforcement agencies and includes a disposable plastic cartridge and a handheld analyzer. The cartridge has two components: a sample collector for gathering saliva and a measurement chamber containing magnetic nanoparticles. The particles are coated with ligands that bind to one of five different drug groups: cocaine, heroin, cannabis, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.” – When bound to the offending drug, the ligands – dig out the chemistry books everyone – will delivery a color coded test result in about 90 seconds. Philips has been working on the technology since 2001 and hopes to begin shipping the devices later this year. That’s some pretty cool technology.

Cool Technology for Pharmacy

zebra-r110xi-rfid-printer-encoderRadio-frequency identification (RFID) printers.

RFID refers to small electronic devices that consist of a small chip and an antenna. They are capable of carrying quite a bit of information. To retrieve the information an RFID device must be scanned much like a barcode. While barcodes require a “line of sight” to be recognized by the scanner RFID labels can be scanned independent of position relative to the scanner and may be read up to 20 feet (or more) away.

RFID is an interesting alternative to barcoding for medication tracking and administration. The advantages are their ability to carry increased amounts of information and the relative ease of scanning mentioned above. It is unclear why RFID hasn’t become more main stream, but one reason could be the relative cost when compared to a traditional barcoding system. RFID would certainly make tracking inventory a little easier.

The printer pictured here is the Zebra R110Xi RFID Printer. For more information about Zebra RFID printers, as well as other RFID products, visit IDAutomation.com.

End-user virtualization in a hospital.

InformationWeek:”Norton Healthcare, the largest health care supplier in the Louisville, Ky., region, has adopted end-user virtualization as a means of giving doctors and nurses a desktop that follows them on their rounds.

The five-unit acute-care hospital chain and supplier of 11 neighborhood clinics is in the process of providing 1,000 thin clients to end-user end points, such as nursing stations, clinic treatment centers, and 50 physician offices. With three shifts a day, most end points have three different users every 24 hours, noted Brian Cox, director of IT customer services.

With VMware view set up, Cox has been able to let doctors and nurses move around the hospital and still access their desktop from the closest thin client, often at the nursing station of a wing instead of having to go back to their own desks. Their desktops can be called up from any location and used to enter patient information or look up patient records.” – Thin clients can be a useful piece of hardware in a hospital setting and I’ve touched on them before. The article doesn’t make it absolutely clear, but your personal desktop actually follows you around regardless of what machine you use to log on. Thin clients are also easier to manage and maintain than traditional desktop PCs from an IT standpoint. I realize this is not cloud computing, however it’s the same basic idea on a small, internalized scale.

New LCD technology may be the solution I’m looking for.

A week or so ago I made a comment wishing that someone would make an e-ink screen for laptop or desktop use. E-ink would be an ideal solution as it offers several advantages over current screen technology. Screens using e-ink offer a great reading experience even in bright light environments, they don’t put undue strain on the eyes and draw very little power (e-readers like the Kindle can last up to 40 hours on a single charge). No longer a wish, a company called Pixel Qi has developed new technology that isn’t quite e-ink but definitely a step in the right direction. Their new LCD technology is viewable in full sunlight and looks very similar to epaper. To see what I’m talking about take a look at this video comparing Pixel Qi’s new LCD screen to the Kindle’s e-ink screen. Of course this new technology shouldn’t be confused with the Kindle’s e-ink technology, but it still looks fantastic.
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