A small selection across domains
There's so much happening in the space of Virtual Reality (VR), that it's becoming hard to keep track. The ecosystem has progressed sufficiently that content creation is becoming a serious focus. Those with intent and resources are in the race to create engaging quality content. Headsets are now available by the dozens and at a range price points. VR is by no means a mainstream technology yet but it's getting there.
Here's a selection of VR companies and content that have been in the news lately. This selection is of course just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Some of these are accessible with nothing more than a smartphone, a downloadable app and a cheap VR headset. Often the app itself is free. Often content is also free, which is expected of any new content distribution platform keen on attracting users. Where devices and content are at a premium, they're for the early adopters willing to splurge north of $2000. Thanks to them, innovation continues to happen and technology continuously nudges past its limits.
Sensors, devices, platforms and start-ups
Earlier this evening I attended an event focused on healthcare. The event was part of the Technology & Innovation Leadership Talk Series that's regular organized by the IET, Bangalore Chapter. Apart from listening to two experts, the event was also a chance to network with fellow engineers, students and entrepreneurs. Both the speakers delivered concise and useful presentations. Let's start with the obvious.
The cost of healthcare is on the rise. India's mostly rural population either can't afford the system or simply unable to access it. Adopting a Western system for the Indian economy is not going to work in the long run. We have forgotten a lot of our traditional systems of cure and well being. Healthcare is being run as a profit-making system, run by a nexus of technology vendors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and insurance companies, so much so that it's sometimes more appropriate to call it the "health-scare" system. Our education system is in shambles and this has resulted in a lack of qualified doctors.
A Report from a Recent Tech Meetup
SynchHerts is an example of an informal meeting of like minds: in the sense that most, if not all, are present because they are involved in the tech sector. If you're reading this you're probably already familiar with the concept and buzz around the term itself, not least by the sheer sums of money spent by the likes of Google snapping up companies that are only a few years old. On the back of this maturing tech scene many people have begun to organize their own forums designed to bring together those interested in networking, collaboration and learning etc.
As far as I can see, the most popular way forward has been by using the services of New York based startup, Meetup.com. This platform seems to have single-handedly transformed the way we find people of similar interests. They provide a space for individuals to create groups, publicize them and organize meets. This has been exploited by those interested in tech ventures, which of course brings me back to the subject of this piece.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
I must congratulate Fiona Godlee, the editor of British Medical Journal, for her bold editorial on the poor science (statistical science of medicine) in one of the January 2014 issues of her journal. This is a halfhearted attempt at highlighting the truth, too little too late. I am giving here an abstract of an article that I wrote a couple of decades ago on the same subject.
EBM, evidence based medicine, should be a concerted effort to retrieve and synthesize as much data as is available to make it possible for practising physicians to incorporate in their practice. The conventional clinical acumen, intuition and clinical experience are deprecated in this process. I wonder if we have enough data to guide us all the time in clinical practice for the benefit of patients.
The case against heart surgeries
In the year 1964 one of the best cardiac surgeons of this century and a thinker at that, Late Michael De Bakey, was trying to replace a fully calcified aortic valve (at the outlet of the left heart) in one of his patients who was dying otherwise. When he went in he found that the two mouths of the left and right coronary arteries, which originate from the sinuses of the coronary valve, were also critically narrowed in the process of calcification. He had a real dilemma-whether to close the wound and let the patient die or to do something which was never done before. A great thinker that he was, his ingenuity invented a heretofore unheard of surgical feat!