Recent trends in tele-health

RealityFrontier is delivering services for video content analysis. How do they fit in the new tele-health trends?

Here’s a selection of recent events that RealityFrontier attended.

It was great to meet with other companies that are using video for tele-health.

Video in tele-health, really?

Image processing and video processing have been used extensively in the medical environment. Our goal at RealityFrontier is to get medical imaging out of the lab. Video content is collected in hospitals, communicated over long distance in telemedicine scenarios, used for tele-health in elderly care, and more.
We are not alone in this search for new design ideas. Recent work has been conducted to use consumer web cam in order to measure health indicator such as pulse and respiration. For instance the CardioCam project is able to measure the pulse of several people simultaneously using slight variation in skin tone captured with a simple web cam. Watch their video.

Similarly, machine vision is used routinely by ergonomics labs to study health factors with the help of algorithms for posture tracking, gaze tracking, gesture recognition, etc. Other type of sensors can be used that eventually produce a video stream, such as ultrasound sensors.

mHealth Summit 2010

The mobile health summit attracted 2,000 visitors and more than 100 exhibitors for a two-day event in Washington, DC, in November 2010. The summit was the occasion to listen to some great talks and discussion panels, such as the “Lessons Learned across the Globe”. This panel included the United Nations Foundation, university researchers, communication service providers such as Orange, and health service organizations. Watch the video.


The exhibit floor was packed with mobile device manufacturers and research projects. The summit was clearly targeted at a professional crowd although most of the devices manufacturers were addressing the needs of individuals and their care givers. Many of the advances in mobile health are funded by government grants. Industrial alliances are represented primarily in the Telecom field and as well through standardization bodies.

Some of the exhibiting companies were demonstrating the use of video-capable devices for telepresence, remote diagnostics and medical data processing. Their products and research projects are of particular interest from a video content analysis standpoint.

NETRA – when the eye itself is acting as a measuring device.

MIT’s camera culture group describes further how they intend to distribute a Smartphone for affordable optometry.

MobiSante – when mobile health is really mobile.

MobiSante, a Redmond-based firm has developed over the past three years the first ever Smartphone based ultrasound imaging system. The device can provide a live image of various organs such as kidneys, etc. It can be used in a remote location without much training. The images can be streamed to a specialist using the Smartphone wireless connection. Watch the video.

LookTel – a visual electronic assistant for visually impaired or blind people

The LookTel application by IPPLEX transforms a Smartphone for very compelling scenarios: object recognition, OCR, object and landmark tagging, etc. What their video.

Data acquisition and processing can face some challenges. For instance, how to optimize the power consumption of a mobile device running for long period of time? That’s what Wockets from MIT presented with a poster on “enabling power-efficient continuous sensing on mobile phones”.

The mHealth Summit 2010 helped us at RealityFrontier in positioning our on-line service for video processing at the crossroad between data acquisition on the mobile device and data processing in the datacenter. Furthermore, video content processing should go side by side with multi-sensor data fusion and low-power scenarios.

Tele-health and ergonomics

RealityFrontier was at the NEC HFES 2010 event organized by the New England Chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

The keynote speaker, John Moore, MD, is working on the participation of the patient in their care at the MIT’s New Media Medicine lab. Opening of the ergonomics event by John Moore: video #1, and #2. 

Many of the presentations were underlining the use of video technology in group studies. This event helped RealityFrontier in discovering another area where video content analysis can be put to fruition.

Healthcare IT in Boston

RealityFrontier attended this networking event profiling Healthcare IT companies. Several companies local to the Boston area delivered a 2-minute elevator pitch to the audience. Watch the presentations:

The event was organized by Propel Careers and the Massachusetts Medical Devices Journal in partnership with the Boston Regional Entrepreneurship Week. The event is one among many hosted by the Microsoft New England R&D center in Cambridge, MA.

Some of the emerging trends in the Healthcare IT industry are the increasing role of analytics and Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS). As an example, RealityFrontier work with video content assets could play a role in CDSS as they gain in adoption.

Other events

RealityFrontier attended two other events related to tele-health recently: a half day session on the topic of “Improving the Quality of HealthCare with Robotics” organized by the Center for Connected Health and Future of telemedecine, a discussion held at the MassTLC Innovation 2010.

RealityFrontier & tele-health

Tele-health and mobile-health are both using video content for communication and diagnostics purposes. Mobile devices and Smartphones are recording and streaming videos from the patient’s hands. Those videos are consumed by care providers, processed through service providers or yet used by the individuals themselves. The videos are no different than any other videos in that they contain information that can be automatically indexed, searched for and processed. Video content analysis is core to RealityFrontier’s service offering to medical device manufacturers.

More information

An article by RealityFrontier

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