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19 August 2010
By Fakir Balaji

The electronic kiosk is a biometric data acquisition system that assesses a person’s health and performs basic medical tests before hospitalisation
Bangalore: Global chip maker Freescale Technology has developed a low–cost intelligent hospital kiosk that enables patients to quickly check their health parameters and seek a physician’s advice through the Internet.

"The electronic kiosk is a biometric data acquisition system that assesses a person’s health and performs basic medical tests, including for body temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar level and electrocardiogram (ECG) of heart," Freescale Development Manager Jose Fernandez said.

Weighing about 30 kg, the touch–screen kiosk was developed by Freescale’s engineering team in Mexico as a low–cost solution for quick and accurate screening tests to know a patient’s health prior to hospitalisation.

"The kiosk has also a portable USB (universal serial bus) device that can be operated at home or in remote location and relay the biometric data through Internet to a hospital or physician for quick investigation and treatment," Fernandez said on the margins of the company’s sixth technology forum.

The kiosk has an integrated analog for recording medical data with Freescale 32–bit micro–controllers and software developed in–house. It also records a person’s height, weight and blood group.

"We have designed and developed the intelligent kiosk with US $500,000 funding from the Mexican government, which has placed an order to supply about 50 of them for installation in state–run hospitals across the North American country," Fernandez said at a preview of the product.

The intelligent kiosks can also be installed at airports, railway stations, bus terminals and malls to enable people operate it by following instructions that pop up on its touch screen.

"Our kiosk demonstrates the kind of electronics technology and embedded software we have developed in our Indian research and development centre at Noida near Delhi for a range of medical devices," Fernandez said.

The Freescale technology in the kiosk boasts of micro–processors, controller chips, signal processing controllers, pressure sensors and wireless and communication devices.

The US–based US $3.5 billion semiconductor firm has shipped the kiosk from Mexico to this tech hub for a demo and pitch for response from its end–users.

"We are open to partnering with any original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a third party vendor to transfer the technology and customise the kiosks with USB for the Indian market," Fernandes noted.

The USB device will help aged people or patients to perform the various tests from their homes and send to the hospital or family doctor for prescription.

"For the Indian market, we can design the touch screen with guidelines or instructions in a local language besides English to enable a patient understand the various tools and perform the tests without nurses or paramedics," Fernandez noted.

Pre–screening patients electronically enables a doctor to determine which patients need treatment soonest.

"In a billon–strong country with a burgeoning economy, the cost can be brought down to US $1,000 per kiosk if volumes are built and economies of scale are achieved for manufacturing the machine locally," Fernandez added.

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