Health Care IT: Microsoft Surface Tabletop PC Aids Children With Autism, Cerebral Palsy

By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2011-12-02 Print this article Print
Microsoft Surface Enables Collaboration

Microsoft Surface Enables Collaboration

Surface has the potential to improve the clinical workflow in health care, by allowing doctors to collaborate with staff and engage patients, according to Microsoft. Version 2.0 of Surface, developed with Samsung and called the Samsung SUR40, will allow companies to wall-mount the device with a VESA mount.
Microsoft has found a spot for its Surface multitouch tabletop computer in health care, as occupational therapists have developed applications for pediatric patients with autism and cerebral palsy. Surface is also used in other industries such as retail, hospitality and education. The LCD on the next generation of Surface is 4 inches thick, runs Windows 7 and has a 360-degree interface that allows users to collaborate. The 2.0 version, the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface, is now available for preorders. Health care organizations will begin deploying them in early 2012. The large display of the new unit, at 40 inches, will be important for kids who need help exercising their limbs, experts say. With Surface's ability to respond directly to touch, natural hand gestures and physical objects-without a keyboard or mouse-pediatric patients can use their extremities, especially when one side may be impaired due to cerebral palsy. "It's exciting to see technology and health care continue to converge and how the key attributes of Surface, such as multitouch, multiuser and object recognition, are being leveraged for unique therapy and diagnostic programs for pediatric patients," Somanna Palacanda, director for Microsoft Surface, told eWEEK. Medical facilities such as Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are using gaming-based therapies to help children adjust to ailments such as autism-which involves repetitive behaviors as well as difficulty in communicating and forming relationships-and cerebral palsy, a disability that brings speech impairments and a lack of muscular coordination. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at how Microsoft Surface is being used to help children with these conditions.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company,, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents,, USA Weekend and, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.

Follow him on Twitter: @bthorowitz


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