New Peripheral Brain Technology Demoed at TED

PDAs have long been used by doctors and healthcare workers to help them make decisions on the wards. Perhaps this innovative technology demoed at the TED conference is the next evolution of the ‘peripheral brain’ idea. The device is a combination projector (so you don’t need a screen) and a camera to record your hand movements and identify what you are looking at. The processing is done in a mobile phone in your pocket.

With something like this you could perhaps project MRI data onto a patient so you could see ‘inside’ them as you examine them. There are a million other potential uses – identifying drugs from their shapes, checking the correct patient (or correct side of the body) you are about to operate on, displaying patient records without needing to go to a computer or lug around a laptop, etc, etc.

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Auckland University: Texting Doubles Chance of Quitting Smoking

From the NZ Herald:

Smokers will be offered help to flick the habit with their texting thumb from tomorrow when a service starts for cellphone users.

Based on successful trials of the new concept, the service will be offered by the state-funded Quit Group, which also provides the telephone Quitline and cards for subsidised nicotine gum and patches. It is hoped to improve the chances of success for the 1-in-5 smokers who are trying to quit.

Just under 20 per cent of adults are smokers and the highest prevalence is among those aged 18 to 34.

Researchers realised the popularity of cellphones in New Zealand, especially among young adults, provided an opportunity to help reduce smoking. They saw it as “chewing gum for your fingers” – encouraging smokers to reach for their cellphone.

Auckland University’s Clinical Trials Research Unit found that sending smokers regular, personalised text messages – containing quit-smoking advice, support or distraction – more than doubled their chances of them having stopped smoking when checked six weeks later.

The scheme has been adapted from the Stomp trial – Stop Smoking with Mobile Phones. Further details will be unveiled by the Quit Group tomorrow to coincide with the start of what is understood to be the first national programme of its type in the world.