3M Technology Changing Medicine

Some of the cool stuff we are doing at 3M in software are some of the industry’s best kept secrets.  One example is our Littmann 3200 Bluetooth Stethoscope.  My team worked with the division to create this system.  This telemedicine technology is some really cool stuff.  Here’s a link to a great video about this project.  Also, it’s getting some great press from healthcare leaders, highlighted by a great post coming out of Microsoft.

We’ve got several more examples of great software technology coming out of 3M.  Stay tuned as I intend to share more about what we are doing!


Technology Easing Our Family Crisis

Last week my father suffered a mild heart attack.  During the process of diagnosing the heart attack, a CT scan revealed a significant mass in his lung.  To make a long story short, this heart attack probably saved his life.

As we have been dealing with this crisis, we have had the need to communicate with our sister in Colorado as well as extended family members.  During this process it occurred to me how much our everyday mobile technology and social media has made that task so much easier.  Also, it has helped us cope with long waits by providing entertainment options (e.g. music, games and media) and access to the outside world.

In this photo you see what I am talking about.  My brothers and Mom are enjoying a game of Monopoly on an iPad, and my brother is using SMS on his iPhone to continuously communicate with our sister.

Andy, Charley and Mom playing Monopoly on iPad


Social media has also been a huge help on a few levels.  First, posting updates on Facebook has allowed me to update my broader network on what’s happening with Dad.  It has also invoked a virtual prayer chain in support of my family during this crisis.  I was able to read to Dad many names of people sending well wishes.  I got the feeling he appreciated the thought.

Coping with this whole ordeal would have been much more difficult without these tools.  Thank God we have them!

At the Epicenter of Big Data Research


I am wiped out as I am on the plane home from my most recent experience at MIT.  This week the topic was Big Data.  Big Data is a big topic around the water cooler these days, so I thought it would be important to learn more about it.  The title of the course was Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler.  This was a 2 day Executive Education course designed to brief managers and executives on this exploding field.

First of all, if you are interested in this topic I highly recommend making the investment of time and money to attend a future offering.  Professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Sandy Pentland, leading researchers in Big Data present a well-crafted curriculum that connects a great deal of their research around how Big Data now provides the technology framework to do, very quickly, what researchers have done for years – create hypotheses, design experiments and analyze results.  Because of Big Data technologies, organizations can become more data-driven in their operations and/or product development.  Key issues including data privacy and data ownership are discussed as well, but this landscape is changing very rapidly, so it was challenging to go into too much depth.

If you are looking to better understand Big Data technologies, this is not the course to take.  However, if you are looking to spend a few days better understanding the ramifications of Big Data and how they impact organizations, I highly recommend making the investment.  The participants in the class contributed greatly to the discourse, which I appreciated as well. Plus, it was a great place to network and find out what is happening in other industries related to Big Data.

Fitbit – A Cool New Wellness Gadget

There are a million and one gadgets to help with various aspects of your healthcare, not to mention a variety of ways to track that information online. I’ve tried a few, both personally, and as a part of my job, and none of them has really stuck.
Last September, I was at a business dinner and heard about Fitbit. This gentleman shared his story on how easy access to the data was a strong motivating factor in his journey to change his habits and overall wellness. Fitbit is a system that combines a device and a web-based system to track movement, calories burned and distance traveled. As a data junkie, I initially thought that getting access to this data would really change behavior. I was right. 20 pounds lost and more to come!
If you are getting started on getting fit and want to easily track progress, the Fitbit is as about as good as it gets. I see that there are more Fitbit devices being launched at CES this week. I plan to check them out! And I will use my Fitbit to see how much I walk this year at CES. Hope I don’t run out of battery since I forgot my charger!

CES: Getting Ready

I am on my way. The Delta flight I am on has some free WiFi service as a promotion for CES, but it’s mighty slow. Oh well. I am due to arrive in a couple of hours on the show floor. Comfortable shoes — check! This could be a 20,000 step day.

This is my second trip to this event. My first came in 2009 when the big TV ruled, and 3D was beginning to show up on the scene. I remember being skeptical that it would take off in the home, and I was pretty much right.

This year it looks like health and wellness technologies are big this year, plus a steady diet of TVs that are connected. I should also see lots of tablets or ultra thin laptops. It will also be interesting to see how Microsoft’s presence has changed (and some speculation about the future).

I am armed with a number of requests from colleagues to scout some very specific things, so I should be busy for the next few days. I hope to blog a little while I am there.

Hope my shoes hold up!

iPad 2: Early Report

Thanks to my wonderful assistant, I am now a user of a new iPad 2.  I have had a chance to use it for a few weeks and have a couple of observations.  Impressive device, overall, with some new key features.

First, it is much thinner.  The specifications suggest 30 percent or so smaller, which when you set it along side a version 1 model, you will notice that it is a significant.  It slides nicely into my briefcase, and takes less space.  It’s also slightly lighter, but less noticeable than it’s overall footprint.

With the A5 processor, it is faster.  I am definitely noticing that while I have used it so far.  Cameras on both front and back are new also, which creates the opportunity to do a video teleconference.

Adding the dongle accessory, I can also do full screen sharing which has already come in handy.  We had an important executive presentation a few weeks ago where we ran the entire slideshow and related demonstrations on the iPad connected to a large HD monitor through an HDMI cable.

The most noticeable thing overall, in my opinion, is the anti-smudging material for the screen.  Unless you have been enjoying some greasy fried chicken, the iPad 2 screen stays relatively free of smudges.  When I set my iPhone next to it, the difference is really noticeable.

The market has responded well.  There are a number of reports about how many have been sold, and extended delivery dates, and so on.  The most compelling statistic, in my opinion is that 70% of buyers in the first weekend were first time buyers.  This is telling me that the tablet is not a fad — it’s here to stay.

Some Great Exposure

I have been enjoying the following video representing one of the projects I have been working on this year.  This is from Health Tech Today, hosted by Dr. Bill Crounse from Microsoft.  I had the privilege of interacting with Dr. Crounse this year on several occasions, resulting in the creation of this video describing the Littmann 3200 Bluetooth Stethoscope from 3M.  This turned out great, I thought.

My team has been working on this technology this year, and we are really excited to get this exposure.  Enjoy!