Bluetooth to Your Rescue

 
 
By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2001-07-23 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Skeptics have accused bluetooth of being a solution in search of a problem, but this year's IEEE Computer Society International Design Competition shows that Bluetooth's strengths can address real needs—beyond eliminating wires in our personal area n

Skeptics have accused bluetooth of being a solution in search of a problem, but this years IEEE Computer Society International Design Competition shows that Bluetooths strengths can address real needs—beyond eliminating wires in our personal area networks. My favorite is the third-place winner, The Poket Doctor from Brigham Young University. Imagine a paramedic team arriving at an accident scene: As they pull up, a screen on the dashboard displays several faces, along with each persons medical history. Before theyve even gotten out of their vehicle, the medical team identifies the people on the scene who need special attention.

Its all done with Bluetooth-enabled smart cards, estimated to cost about $30 each, discoverable by a portable medical console and able to provide emergency data—or, with a password supplied by a conscious patient, download full medical history information.

Poket Doctor prototype development was limited more by software than hardware; in particular, the team found Microsofts Visual C++ unwieldy in displaying patients photographs. Encryption/decryption times were also an issue.

But Bluetooths limitations, such as data packet size, were readily addressed. Using Ericsson development kits and Towitoko Electronics smart cards, the team achieved communication distances on the order of 10 meters with transmission times of under 20 seconds (including Bluetooth device discovery and selection).

Other winning presentations appear at www.computer.org/csidc, including the first-place report from Polands Poznan University of Technology—whose BlueEyes Conscious Brain Involvement Monitor detects inattention by operators of industrial installations. Consider the implications: Someday, I may be able to tell if youre thinking about these columns.

 
 
 
 
Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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