Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ICT inside

I attend ICT2010 as a “Young Researcher”. The fellowship provides me with a free entry to the event, free entry to a few special sessions (more on these later), but also means that I have to write reports about some of the exhibitors. I have been allocated to the “ICT inside” category, so yesterday late afternoon I interviewed a couple of the 10 exhibitors that are in this category. Attending only grid computing events in the last 7 years just took me so far from hardware research and development that I was really impressed by the combined HW-SW solutions that these demos exhibit. My favourite demo was:

  • Self-monitoring facility for patients (by the Austrian Institute of Technology): The demo consists of a carton table with different icons painted on it, each of the icon containing one RFID chip; and a SW that can be uploaded to any regular mobile phone (not just to the shiny touchscreen phones). The patient can use his/her mobile with this software to record blood pressure and other medical data and send it to the hospital. What I most like about the demo is how simple and intuitive it is: Open the mobile, touch it to the blood pressure machine, touch it to the relevant icons on the RFID flat table to express your generic feelings or to confirm that you took the prescribed medication. The SW running on the mobile reads data from the blood pressure meter, reads the icons from the table then sends the data to a pre-configured hospital. The whole process can be carried out without touching a single button on the mobile, and can be done even by a 70+ aged person. What makes this possible is the “Near Field Communication” (NFC) protocol, an emerging protocol for data short range wireless transfer between devices. The devices have to be really close (few cm), but the data which can be transmitted can have high level of complexity – not just a tag or an ID.

I recommend you to memorise the NFC acronym. I predict bright future for it.

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