As a clinician fascinated by the use of new technologies to achieve outcomes, it’s hard to go past anything that is looking at bridging the divide between human emotions / touch and technology. Telenoid is one such project. It’s aim is to provide an effective way to transfer people’s presence.
The research on telepresence is booming and it’s fairly widely accepted that videoconferencing is superior to teleconferencing and that platforms like virtual worlds provide even better telepresence sometimes. Telenoid is a step further again, providing a tangible means of interacting with someone remotely. In the second video below you’ll see its creator citing a key inspiration was the ability for remotely located grandparents to interact more with their grandchildren. That alone is laudable but for me the clinical simulation potentials stood out pretty strongly.
Real patients as simulation
Imagine the ability to have a ‘patient’ reflecting the emotions and speech of a real person in combination with the current simulation functionality i.e. feedback, monitoring of biometric data etc. Taken a step further: a real patient experiencing a real health issue is able (with consent of course) to have their experience transferred to a simulation exercise in real time. There are already consumer devices on the market able to control avatars via thought processes, this is only a small step beyond that.
A specific example:
a. Marjorie is a patient with bowel cancer who is scheduled to have chemotherapy.
b. She consents to her next outpatient chemotherapy session being used for simulation purposes with third-year nursing students at a local university.
c. On arrival at the clinic for her chemotherapy, Marjorie agrees to wear a discreet headset that both captures her emotions as well as her voice as she goes through the process.
d. At the university the students are in a laboratory environment set up for chemotherapy and the simulation mannikin is reflecting Marjorie’s experience as students use the same clinical pathway as the clinic to simulate providing the chemotherapy. The voice recorder allows the students to hear what the nurse is actually doing for Marjorie, providing the opportunity to contrast practice and to ‘see’ what impact that practice is having on Marjorie.
It sounds a little clunky and requires tight integration betwen education and practice, but the potential is there. Using dementia as an another example (although this is where consent can be fraught with difficulties): imagine the power of a mannikin that spoke and reflected the emotions and movements of an individual with severe dementia. The learning potential is enormous and would have the subsequent benefit of much more confident and confident new practitioners.
The first video shows a conversation with Telenoid:
This one shows Telenoid up closer and note how easily people interact with it:
Thanks to Meg over at Future of Sex for the heads-up. Yes, the potential for this technology in regards to sex is likely to be the driver for its further enhancement and adoption. Who’d of thought?