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Gaming Is Serious For Devices Of The Future

In today's interactive world, we text, download, and rely on GPS units for directions. And when we're not engaged in one of those activities, many of us are engaged in video game competitions with avatars (playful digital representations of human beings) throughout the world.

Our interactive world needs to intersect with the world of medical devices. I can, for example, envision glucose monitors that resemble iPhones featuring user-created avatars for guiding users and providing real-time feedback. Such an interactive “buddy system” might resemble a video game and would hold patients “accountable” while following a prescribed regimen. It could challenge users to “do better” next time, or to complete the next step within a certain time, and it could detect and track common symptoms such as blurred vision, which might go unnoticed by patients early on.

Already, wireless technology is being incorporated into the realm of personal dental care in the form of the Oral-B Triumph electric toothbrush, which includes a wireless connection to a nearby display device that monitors the pressure and time for each quadrant of the user's teeth. The display's icon language by HLB is intended for a global audience.

These wireless technologies can also be effective when responding to emergencies. If a patient injects too much of a remedial drug, a device could automatically sense the danger and react, perhaps by directing the person to the nearest hospital. The combination of the device's monitoring function with wireless communication could transmit data to a person's doctor or caregiver. The device also could be effective in helping to prevent emergencies. That is, if a patient skips a number of glucose checks, the doctor would receive notice.

The GPS functionality of the iPhone could be used to guide medical responders to an emergency or to alert pharmacists when a patient is out of glucose strips. The motion-sensing capabilities of the iPhone and Wii interactive game system could be used to monitor the blood draw or other parts of glucose testing. And if the user has incorrectly oriented the device, the device would signal the problem and then signal again when the problem is corrected.

In the hospital environment, medical equipment used by staff with multiple roles may be designed with avatars appropriate for each type of user.

The incorporation of wireless, GPS and video gaming technologies will advance the effectiveness and training associated with tomorrow's devices and equipment.

Game on!