Recent articles highlight three groups developing health care solutions using Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor: Tech Republic reports on two ambitious new projects that are using Microsoft’s Kinect in creative ways to improve rehabilitation for recovering stroke victims. Simultaneously, PSFK reports on Italian researchers using Kinect to help autistic children socialize, by identifying the emotions being felt by a person sitting in front of it.
David Stein, New York’s Associate Director of Development, reports:
The intersection of health and technology was one of the main themes in this year’s
sessions. Along with finance and education, health was discussed as one of the last
major economic sectors yet to be “disrupted” by new tech. Potential disruptions being discussed included wearable health sensors and real-time monitoring, connecting
health care providers and patients in innovative and cost-effective ways, and improving
consumer access to and control over their own health data and history.
Another trend this year was a marked increase in the number of international speakers,
subjects and trade floor vendors. One thing that did not change was the noticeable
absence of Apple, other than on the laptop logos on every panel table. Maker culture
(makerbots, Raspberry Pi, etc.), robots (for example the Robot Boxing Machine
competition), and wearable tech remained strong, as did the focus on responsive web
design (or, as it will soon be known, “web design”) and all things mobile. The
importance of device agnosticism in web development and User Experience were also
mentioned frequently. Chelsea Clinton and others spoke of the need for adapting tech
innovation for social good.
The overall use and abuse of user data was probably the biggest single theme this year.
Keynote speakers included Edward Snowden, speaking live from Russia, and Julian
Assange, from his new home in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. There were
numerous sessions, workshops and informal discussions throughout the week on both
the positive potential for “big data” and personalization or microtargeting, on the one
hand, and user demands for privacy and organized resistance to surveillance on the
other, and the difficulty in resolving the tension between these two ideals.
More snippets (real time commentary) on our Tumblr blog.
Our Director of Digital Strategy, Andy Bond, has published an article that discusses how digital may be able to help marketers survive in the ever-changing healthcare environment. “Pharma companies can provide tangible ‘pill plus’ value by creating innovative digital programs and tools designed to drive better patient outcomes,” he says. Read the full article at PM360online.
It’s always great to have our work recognized by our peers, and the Digital Strategy, UX, and Dev teams really came together seamlessly with the traditional agency creatives in our work on the Ferring Fertility franchise site, which was honored with a silver award in PM 360 magazine’s Pharma Choice awards. The database-driven site, with ability for doctors to register their clinics, and the brand team to update events, is highly search engine optimized, with an advanced aesthetic that pairs the rational and emotional reasons to prescribe Ferring products. Congrats to the teams!
Crowdsourcing has taken a step in the right direction, says an article in today’s New York Times. Researchers in Cambridge, England, have worked with a Scottish software company to build a “Space Invaders inspired” mobile game that uses players interactions to analyze gene sequences from cancer patients. ” The hope is to reduce the time it takes to study these genetic faults from years to a just few months, while also giving users a downloadable smartphone game that can be played during their morning commutes… In early trials, the gaming results have been up to 15 percent more accurate than existing methods used to crunch the cancer data,” says the article.
The article also gives a fascinating history of some of the impressive breakthroughs already achieved by using games in health care, including abstracting complex problems into playable metaphors and leveraging social competition dynamics to drive interest.
Following the initial success of the “fremium” game model on mobile phones, there’s been a wave of gradually more exploitative games using this model – an initial “free” download followed by the extraction of incremental real money to finish tasks or gain abilities faster.
As Thomas Baekdal points out, EA’s Dungeon Keeper epitomizes the problem: take a $50 game concept from the late 1990s, and then set up the “free” mobile version so that it costs players $80 to make the same progress they would have made in 15 minutes in the original version. His rant includes a great (but NSFW) link to Nerd3‘s video review of the game in question – but Dungeon Keeper is just the tip of the iceberg.
The larger problem is that this horror is being actively promoted by Apple, and a generation of new gamers is being taught that this is the “normal” gaming experience. Hopefully there will be a backlash and a return to quality games where the players pay a reasonable fee, one time, up front. Otherwise there’s a huge risk that the gaming industry will implode… as it has in a boom and bust cycle that’s followed each generation of new consumer devices.