Microsoft foresees roles for Surface 2, Xbox, Kinect in healthcare

Summary:Microsoft's healthcare leaders already are thinking about how the newly announced Surface 2, Xbox, Xbox Live and the Kinect sensors may be incorporated into healthcare applications.

Microsoft's healthcare leaders already are thinking about how the newly announced Surface 2, Xbox, Xbox Live and the Kinect sensors may be incorporated into healthcare applications.

(It's been a while since I've blogged about Microsoft's Health Solutions Group. That unit, under Corporate Vice President Peter Neupert, is the one overseeing HealthVault and Amalga, among other products.)

Bill Crounse, Senior Director of Worldwide Health for Microsoft blogged about the Surface 2 on January 6. He said he has been working with the Surface group for the past few months to create a "vision setting video" on scenarios for the Surface 2.0 in the healthcare space.

Crounse said he could envision clinicians collaborating with patients on wall-mounted versions of the $7,600 Surface 2.0 tables. Physicians also could use these devices to share more easily patient information, such as the results of a fetal ultrasound. (In other words, the Surface 2.0 could act as a 40-inch, multitouch display.)

Crounse said he also sees possible healthcare applications for a variety of consumer-focused Microsoft technologies down the road. Again, from his post:

"I also predict down the line that we’ll be seeing some 'mashups' combining Surface with attributes of Kinect, Xbox, Xbox Live, Avatars, and possibly Microsoft Lync or Windows Live. I’ve always maintained that the digital, flat-sceen Internet connected device in our living rooms (our television) would one day become the gateway to all kinds of new services and entertainment."

Hmmm. I'm not so sure about animated Kinect avatars in healthcare... Seems a little too much like Clippy revisited to me. I can see Lync's audio/video conferencing playing a role, however....

What's your take? Any other vertical markets you see adopting Surface 2.0, Xbox and/or Kinect sooner rather than later?

Update: My ZDNet colleague Manan Kakkar found an interesting Microsoft patent application earlier this year that shows Microsoft's been thinking about potential links between health and gaming. (His post makes me wonder whether social gaming will figure in Microsoft's future healthcare plans, as well.)

Topics: Legal, Hardware, Health, IT Employment, Microsoft, Mobility

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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