Monday, January 11, 2010

There's an app for that

I currently have a client, Global Media Group, LLC, that I do part-time consulting with. They are a start-up organization that designs and builds telemedicine/telehealth instruments. I name drop not only to point you in their direction because if they get more business, I may get more business, but also because one of the things I do is try to follow the industry of my clients. I may not keep up-to-date on all the latest happenings, but I at least read enough to grasp the current trends and be able to anticipate my clients needs. (How's that for full service design consulting?)

One of the technologies I came across in my research was a handheld ultrasound device. Now this instrument is not developed by Global Media, but it could be. No, this is being developed in collaboration with a couple engineers at Washington University in St. Louis.

William D. Richard and David Zar have invented a system that combines an ultrasound probe, adapted to be powered by a USB port, and a smartphone running a special Windows OS. The focused end users are developing nations, ambulances, and the military; basically anywhere that a standard ultrasound can't go but is needed. Personally, I see a use much closer to home.

Show of hands, how many of you have woken up in the middle of the night and race to the hospital because your wife says "I think it's time." ? Exactly! All of us. Now, rather than facing that hundred dollar speeding ticket and a few points off your license, you can whip out your cell phone and tell your wife to go back to bed. OK, not really, because interpreting the ultrasound still requires specialist training. But hey! It's on your cell phone. Call your doctor to share the joyful midnight experience and get their opinion before driving into the hospital. They're going to be woken up anyway once you get there, this could save them the trip, too.