Avatars in Healthcare

October 3, 2007 at 10:26 am | Posted in virtual worlds | Leave a comment

iHealthBeat reports that IBM Software Offers Doctors 3-D View of Patients’ Records

IBM researchers have developed new three-dimensional visualization software that will allow physicians to view electronic health records on an animated representation of the human body, eHealth Europe reports.
Doctors can use the software’s Anatomic and Symbolic Mapper Engine, developed by IBM’s Zurich Research Lab, to click on an area of the illustrated body and retrieve relevant medical records, such as text entries, lab results and medical images.
“It’s like Google Earth for the body,” Andre Elisseeff, an IBM researcher, said, adding, “In hopes of speeding the move toward [EHRs], we’ve tried to make information easily accessible for health care providers by combining medical data with visual representation.”

You can see a few pictures of it in a page from the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory.

This is a good example of where I expect to see much of the hype from virtual worlds settling into: use of 3D navigation for domains where spatial relationships add value and use of the “avatar” concept to represent a person for the sake of human-to-computer interaction (HCI).

I strongly recommend to the UI designers that as we are trying to get avatars and 3d interfaces to be taken seriously, they not use a glowing green faux computer font that looks like it came from the Terminator (“Hey, buddy. You got a dead cat in there, or what?”. Green glowing text seen in HUD from Terminator’s point of view: “POSSIBLE RESPONSE: YES/NO; OR WHAT?; GO AWAY; PLEASE COME BACK LATER; F*** YOU, ASSHOLE'” [thanks IMDB]).  Helvetica would work just fine. 

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