Category Archives: hardware

Stand Up Workstation

Living a sedentary life in front of a sit down type computer workstation is an occupational hazard. It definitely statistically shortens your life. As a software engineer weird back aches belly bulge and other minor health problems despite much exercise have been a chronic problem for me. After thirty years of sitting at a workstation, I have finally changed to a stand up workstation to safeguard my health. It came about almost by accident when I purchased a used steel file cabinet.

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Press Release: The World�s First Mobile Linux Development Kit (MKitTM) is now available

The World�s First Mobile Linux Development Kit (MKitTM) is now available

Unicon Systems, a Linux handheld software and hardware technology developer from Menlo Park, California, started shipping its Mobile Linux Development Kit (MKitTM).
MKitTM ($599) is the first and only unique mobile Linux development kit on the market. It gives professional developers and manufacturers the ability to create new handheld devices for medical, industrial, security and educational applications. Unicon�s patented, wireless, and mobile chip-on-film Linux computer is based on an ARM9 embedded CPU running full blown Linux 2.6 and attached to the back of a 3.5� touch screen. It is equipped with multiple connectivity options, including two 2.0 high-speed USB host ports and WiFi.

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Xbox for Stroke Rehabilitation

I saw that one on slashdot (link to the discussion).
“Using an Xbox modified to run Linux, researchers [at Rutgers University in New Jersey] have developed virtual reality hand exercises for rehabilitating stroke patients. An inexpensive glove controller is used to interact with the Xbox. The hardware cost is a tenth of a comparable commercial hand rehabilitation system, leading to the possibility of deployment in patients’ homes.” (slashdot summary)

Love in the fMRI

Nothing Free and Open Source in this, just an interesting article on the use of functional MRI to discover what parts of the brain are activated when people are in love, and when they’ve been rejected. Short version: ‘…The chief sections affected by the photo rapture test were the caudate nucleus (a lump deep in the reptilian brain that helps creatures ”detect and perceive a reward” and focus their attention on anything that might bring arousal, pleasure and satisfaction) and the ventral tegmental area (V.T.A.), which Fisher describes as the dopamine ”mother lode.” Some 6,000 images later, her hypothesis was proved right: the caudate and the V.T.A. lit up like a scoreboard every time the lover saw the image of the loved…’

Tablet PC using Linux

With some serious patience it is possible to make an Acer Tablet PC work with Debian! This How-To was recently published on SlashDot. Tablet PCs present a tremendous potential for encounter oriented patient data entry. Using these kinds of technologies could really change the way medicine is practiced. For a simple reason, this could make a paperless office more effective than a paperfull office. Most systems now are a “worst-of-both-worlds” compromise.

VA and Inoveon to Monitor Diabetes Blindness via Internet

Interesting article in the Tennessean about a partnership between the VA and a company called Inoveon which will offer patient diabetes blindness monitoring by what I assume is photographing of the retina by special cameras at the VA’s Nashville and Murfreesboro hospitals: ‘…Vanderbilt will place specialized cameras at both VA hospitals. It already has a camera at two public health clinics in Nashville and recently received a grant from the HCA Foundation for expansion to another clinic, Merin said.

Photographs from those five locations will travel via Internet to Vanderbilt’s evaluation center…’

In-Flight Medical ‘Briefcase’

As reported on Slashdot and originally on the BBC: ‘…On average one plane a day has to make an unscheduled landing somewhere around the world because a passenger has fallen ill and requires medical treatment. In two minutes you have a complete examination of the patient. Not only is this highly inconvenient for other passengers, it costs an industry already struggling to cope with turbulent times a great deal of money – $50,000 to $100,000 per diversion Airbus, in collaboration with the French Space Agency, has come up with a solution – an on-board, satellite-connected medical briefcase…’

Another Bionic Eye

Karsten Hilbert wrote in with this link to another report of a bionic eye implanted in a man who had lost his sight 20 years ago: ‘… “You actually have a fifth sense restored. And that is what I absolutely adore about this device,” the man, who wished only to be identified by his first name, Jens, said at a conference where early results from the work were revealed. “You are no longer blind. You might be blind to some objects, some situations, but you are not totally blind anymore.”…
While the device does not restore full vision, Jens was able to see clearly enough to drive a car in an empty parking lot to demonstrate the difference the device has made…’
Related story here.

ABC: Can Robots Make People Happier?

Alot of hardware stories lately, this one from ABC News about the therapeutic use of Sony’s Aibo robotic dog: ‘… The robotic dogs were brought to Rosewalk by researchers at Indiana’s Purdue University as part of a pilot project to determine whether robots can make people happier.

“We find people who in nursing home settings might be socially isolated and don’t routinely chat with each other have something to talk about together, to have fun, to have reminiscences,” said Beck…’ But will it settle the question: ‘Do androids dream of electric sheep?’ for you Blade Runner fans. This link courtesy of Karsten Hilbert.