Posts Tagged ‘Qualcomm’
Using online medical resources to diagnose our various aches and pains is just as likely to send someone rushing to the doctor in the belief they have some incurable, life-threatening disease as it is to put any fears to rest. Medical startup Scanadu, which is based at the NASA-Ames Research Center, is set to provide a set of home diagnostic tools that are designed to let users monitor their health over time and provide a better indication of whether a trip to the doc is actually necessary.
While Scanadu continues working on a tricorder-like device capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases in an attempt to claim the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, it has just revealed its first three consumer health products that are designed to put a doctor in your pocket…
The first device in the company’s initial product lineup is the Scanadu SCOUT, a palm-sized device designed by Yves Behar that Scanadu says will accurately read a variety of vital signs when held to the temple for a period of under 10 seconds. Data collected by the device is transmitted via Bluetooth to a smartphone, where the Scanadu app will display pulse transit time, pulse rate, electrical heart activity, temperature, heart rate variability and blood oxygenation. The data can also be transmitted to the user’s doctor. The SCOUT is expected to retail for under $150.
Scanadu’s other two products, which also work in conjunction with Scandu’s smartphone app, are designed as low-cost, disposable diagnostic tools.
Turning a smartphone into a urine analysis reader is the ScanaFlo, which is a disposable cartridge that is designed to be sold over the counter. It will test for complications during pregnancy, preeclampisa, gestational diabetes, kidney failure and urinary tract infections. Scanadu also claims it will be the first consumer device to provide a personal “healthfeed” for the duration of a pregnancy.
Also designed as a disposable cartridge, the third and final entry in Scandu’s initial product line is the ScanaFlu. As its name suggests, the ScanFlu is designed to quickly assess cold-like symptoms, with the ability to test saliva for the early detection of Strep A, Influenza A, Influenza B, Adenovirus and RSV.
All three of these devices should be in production and on the way to consumers before the end of 2013. For someone like me – capable of being a world-class hypochondriac – they should be a delight, useful or otherwise.
Ebook readers are arguably coming of age, but don’t assume e-ink – and the push to produce color e-ink panels – have won the game quite yet. SlashGear met up with Qualcomm’s mirasol team to discuss their latest display news, and while you might remember the technology from their early 1.1-inch single-color panels, they’re now showing off a 5.7-inch display capable of full color and video playback, with minimal impact on battery life. They’ve set themselves the target of having color ebook readers with mirasol panels on the market by the latter part of 2010, and are working with OEMs now to achieve that.
Mirasol borrows the same elements that allow a butterfly’s iridescent wings to shimmer, using tiny flexible membranes that react to electrical charges, overlaid onto a mirrored surface. Light reflected back out through those membranes is refracted so that interfering wavelengths create colors, and because the membranes used are bistable, once they have been set to display a certain color they require virtually no power to maintain it, only if it needs to be changed. The system also needs no color filters, no strong backlighting to be visible in direct sunlight and no polarizing lenses.
It’s important to point out that the device you see here is merely a mock-up the mirasol team have put together, and while non-functional overall the 5.7-inch display panel is from their fab plant and an actual, working unit, its bistable pixels locked into a color image. Qualcomm are working with multiple OEMs – the names of which they wouldn’t disclose – on a variety of ebook reader devices, and while they couldn’t confirm any particular form-factors, they did say there are plans for units with and without QWERTY keyboards, together with touchscreen and non-touchscreen models.
Where mirasol shows its strength is in battery performance. A standard ebook reader – such as the Kindle – could last for roughly 20-percent longer if its monochrome e-ink display was switched for a mirasol panel, assuming the same sort of use. As the mirasol team explained, however, once you start pushing traditional e-ink panel refresh rates, up to the point you can display smooth video, and introduce color, power draw can actual go beyond that of a regular LCD display. A color e-ink video-capable Kindle would last roughly a day using the same battery; meanwhile the same unit with a mirasol panel would last around a week.
I think this is a more radical jump in display technology than OLED. Essentially, you’re able to achieve bright, colorful images with NO backlight. And the colors become more intense when you take the screen outdoors – the opposite of what we experience with LCDs. While reducing power consumption.
I guess we’ll soon learn if the saw about “e-readers will become popular when they get a color screen” – means anything?