Watt's the Buzz - EMR & Health Report - December 2014 Issue
Watch out for Apple’s newest innovation. The Apple watch, coming in 2015, is the wearable wireless device that means its owner will always be connected to the virtual world. The watch can be used as a phone, to connect to the internet, for financial transactions, to play music, as a camera and iPad. It can also be used to monitor a person’s vital information—health status and activity. This means that not only can the wearer use the watch to find out just about everything about the world, but the world can use it to find out just about everything about the wearer.
Poverty no barrier
Even living on the street is no barrier to mobile phone ownership. Researchers in Africa conducted a survey of young people living in the slums or streets of Kampala. The found that nearly 47% of those surveyed owned a mobile phone, especially if they were over 18 years of age. (Swahn, MH et al, West J Emerg Med 15(5):600-3, 2014.)
NSW is about to embark on a trial of wireless technology for remotely sensing road conditions. The Co- operative Intelligent Transport Initiative (CITI) will be conducted along a stretch of the Hume Highway between Sydney and Port Kembla. During the trial, trucks fitted with a wireless system operating at 5.95 GHz will transmit and receive information from bases located along the highway. The trial, which has cost $1.4 million so far, is scheduled to be underway by February. The Australian 23.09.14.)
Another trial of wireless technology is underway. As part of its plan to create WiFi hotspots in busy public areas, Telstra has begun converting public payphones into WiFi access points which will send wireless radiation for approximately 100 metres in all directions. The payphones will be just one of the two million or so hotspots the carrier intends to create across the country. (Adelaide Advertiser, 30.09.14.)
The use of WiFi and mobile devices on Boeing aircraft is about to cost US airlines up to US$14 million. Tests conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)showed that electronic equipment in the cockpit that conveys vital navigational information blanked out when exposed to WiFi radiation. The FAA ordered Boeing to replace the equipment. (Reuters, 30.09.14.)
Rise of wireless
Wired phones are giving way to wireless phone connections in many parts of the globe. In the US, there are more mobile phone subscriptions than there are people and ten percent of wired phones are being disconnected each year. (Insight Research Corporation, US Wireless and Wireline Voice: Threats and Opportunities, 2013-18)
High cost of WiFi
WiFi access didn’t just cost these potential network users an arm and a leg. It cost them their first-born child.
Six Londoners accidentally signed away ownership of their oldest child when they completed an online agreement for
WiFi access. The agreement was devised by security firm F-Secure as an experiment to point out the risks of connecting to dubious WiFi networks. It also showed that customers were willing to provide key personal data, including passwords, when asked for it. (Washington Post, 29.09.14.)
It used to only happen to pets—but now humans are being implanted with computer chips, too.
Brisbane advertising executive Ben Slater is one of a number of Australians who have opted for the procedure. In September, Ben flew to a tattoo parlour in Melbourne to have a radio-frequency identification (RFID) device implanted in the webbing of his left hand. The device, somewhat larger than a grain of rice stores and transfers information using wireless signals. RFID can be used to turn equipment on and off, and locate products or pets—and now people. (Sun -Herald, 07.09.14.)