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Presto Changeo – 2D to 3D

Remember the view master? It is still one of my favorite toys of all time. I loved slipping the card in the device and seeing those 3D images. It may have sparked my love for all things 3D.

So imagine my joy when I heard about iPhone virtual reality viewer. This device couples with an iPhone to enable immersive, 3D viewing experiences. It comes with free downloadable applications that take advantage of the accelerometer in the iPhone. In these applications the 3D environments move when the iPhone moves. So in addition to viewing 3D movie trailers, you can become a Great White Shark (or some other species if so inclined) and tool around underwater to hunt for prey and buried treasure. You can also take a virtual tour of the LA Santa Monica pier or race underground in a hovercraft.

Check it out below Read More »

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Virtual Reality, To the Rescue

Virtual reality technology has been making the headlines in the last month for many types of ‘to the rescue’ solutions. For disaster training, complex community planning, and providing patient pain relief; a virtual reality solution is either available or on the horizon.

Disasters, whether natural or not, are inevitable and horrifying. How well emergency response plans and personnel manage the incident can make a big difference on the impact of the disaster. Environmental Tectonics Corporation announced a one-month global tour designed to showcase the capabilities of the Advanced Disaster Management Simulator. According to the ADMS web site, the Advanced Disaster Management Simulator is an interactive virtual reality simulation system for training incident commanders and disaster management teams at all levels, from on-scene operations to off-scene coordination and planning.

Community planning is not easy. It requires tons of analysis and scenario simulation to come up with plan proposals. A team of Rowan University engineering professors and students will be using virtual reality to tackle the chronic flooding issues in two southern New Jersey communities, Vineland and Camden. According to an article on, “The project, ‘Application of a 3-D Virtual Reality Tool for Community Planning and Economic Development: Stimulating Flooding and Remediation in Southern New Jersey Communities,’ will be a virtual test that is a cost-effective solution to chronic flooding problems.” This isn’t Rowan University’s first foray into virtual reality research. For example, the CAVE at Rowan University has been used to test rocket engines and maintain safer ships for NASA and the Navy. Check out the CAVE in action. Read More »

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The Virtual Doctor Is In

If you are like me, going to the Doctor’s is not a favorite task…I especially hate the waiting in the office knowing that I am surrounded by germs, contagions, and other icky stuff. So the idea of being able to see my doctor virtually is very appealing to me! Connected healthcare is not a new concept and Cisco has been leading the way in providing technology solutions that reduce the cost of quality care for chronically ill patients, increase the control on infectious diseases, produce a reduction in epidemics, decrease the rate of medical errors, and provide better customer service.

Before we proceed let’s define connected health, according to Wikipedia the definition is:

Connected Health is a term used to describe a model for healthcare delivery that uses technology to provide healthcare remotely. Connected health aims to maximize healthcare resources and provide increased, flexible opportunities for consumers to engage with clinicians and better self-manage their care. It uses technology – often leveraging readily available consumer technologies – to deliver patient care outside of the hospital or doctor’s office. Connected health encompasses programs in telehealth, remote care (such as home care) and disease and lifestyle management, often leverages existing technologies such as connected devices using existing cellular networks and is associated with efforts to improve chronic care.

This video provides a framework for Cisco’s vision of the future of healthcare.

With Cisco’s Community for Connected Health Summit and HIMSS taking place this week it is no surprise that new announcements are being published regarding the continued evolution of connected healthcare. Some of the announcements over the last couple of weeks include:

There are other exciting ideas being discussed regarding using virtual reality to treat phobias and robots to engage in health assessments at home.

KVIE Public Television’s, “Digital Doctors — The Future of Healthcare,” features coverage of Cisco’s work in advancing telehealth services in healthcare.  This segment examines how new advancements in healthcare technology are enabling doctors and other clinicians to remotely interact and diagnose patients from miles away.

I for one am looking forward to no more icky waiting rooms, yeah to the doctor always being in!

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Tapping Into Brain Power with Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI)

Don’t worry I am not trying to assimilate you! This post is about a technology while not new in any way has re-caught my attention as of late. Yes I am talking about Brain-Computer Interfaces or BCIs for short.

What is a BCI you ask? Well according to Wikipedia:

A brain–computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a direct neural interface or a brain–machine interface, is a direct communication pathway between a brain and an external device. BCIs are often aimed at assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions.

BCIs research began in the 1970s and the focus quickly shifted to neuroprosthetics applications. The first implant of a  neuroprosthetics application in a human was in the mid-90s. However neuroprosthetics applications are not the same as BCIs as neuroprosthetics usually attaches a device to the nervous system and BCIs connect the brain (nervous system) directly to a computer. Neuroprosthetics can be attached to any part of the nervous system including peripheral nerves but BCIs are focused on attachment to the central nervous system specifically. The two terms are interchangeable as they focus on similar effects such as restoring sight, movement, hearing, etc.

The work that has been done with BCIs to restore capabilities to people is admirable. However what recently got me re-interested in BCIs is their integration with more common tasks such as typing, playing a game and navigating a virtual world.

In March of this year a team of researchers from IMEC, the Holst Center and the lab of neuro- and psychophysiology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven introduced Mind Speller, a thought-to-text device. I am all ready an active user of speech-to-text tools such as Dragon Naturally Speak so thought-to-text is very intriguing to me. Read More »

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