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Review of Atom-Powered Toughbook Medical Tablet

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the on-my-shopping-list-for-the-apocalypse dept.

Portables 54

An anonymous reader writes "Intel has spent years talking up the digital health sector, and now Panasonic has come up with a product to make that category worthwhile. The Toughbook CF-H1 is a fully rugged mobile computer designed for the medical profession. Of course it can be dropped and doused in water, but it's got some other cool tricks too like a built in RFID scanner, wireless smartcard reader and a barcode scanner. It's also using the 1.86GHz Atom, which is rarely seen." I'd like this: a small, low-power tablet suitable for klutzes.

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handle (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26658339)

More machines need handles like that. It makes skipping down the street while singing a song so much easier.

Re:handle (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26658653)

More machines need handles like that. It makes skipping down the street while singing a song so much easier.


Re:handle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26658869)

It's my long lost cousin, Dr. Troll! Hows that weather under your bridge home? Oh? You lost your bridge to the bank? For shame!

Medicine, Where OLPD is $3,000 (1)

Erris (531066) | about 6 years ago | (#26658389)

Expense order - reason for cost

  • 10. Consumer grade - market for lemons, stuff costs money dude.
  • 5. Automotive - lockin price / planned obsolescence for common steel. Priced more than diamonds per mass. Thank God for Aftermarket. Have fun putting it in.
  • 4. Marine - all of the above but care must be taken or the thing will break. More limited market drives prices up too.
  • 3. Aviation - even more restricted market and federal care must be taken.
  • 2. Nuclear - sigh.
  • 1. Medicine - You think you live in a free market? Ha, pay up or die sucker!

Don't really know the price of this "tough book" but the components should go for about $100 like the more feature complete OLPC.

Warning: Known sockpuppet/troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26659295)

User [slashdot.org] maintains more than a dozen sockpuppet accounts [slashdot.org] on Slashdot.

Re:Medicine, Where OLPD is $3,000 (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | about 6 years ago | (#26662587)

Typical twitter inanity. It's not a GNU/Netbook, thus it's vastly overpriced and only suckers will buy it. Shouldn't you be living in a commune or something?

My apologies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26658423)

I'd like this: a small, low-power tablet suitable for klutzes.

Plus you could spill fetal blood on it with no problem when you're out in the backyard grilling the placenta.

This is a very useful article for Slashdot ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26658433)

... since this forum is FILLED with rocket surgeons!

Re:This is a very useful article for Slashdot ... (1)

Ironica (124657) | about 6 years ago | (#26660189)

Hey, I find it terribly useful, since it looks like a lot of my 2009 is going to be consumed with vendor selection for an electronic medical record solution for our clinics. Everyone's hung up on which program to go with, which yeah is a huge issue... but no one, and I mean NO ONE, has even thought a tiny bit about what kind of hardware we're going to access the EMR from. Except me.

But that's why they invite me to the meetings, I guess.

Re:This is a very useful article for Slashdot ... (1)

pixr99 (560799) | about 6 years ago | (#26667305)

We've just finished demoing Motion Computing's C5 [motioncomputing.com] . I was quite impressed. As the demo period ended, the surgeon that we paired it with told us in no uncertain terms that we weren't getting it back. Of course, none of this matters if your EMR's interface isn't touch friendly.

Re:This is a very useful article for Slashdot ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26661999)

do you realize that a rocket surgeon is an engineer - which slashdot is full of?

Yet another small device that should not use XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26658449)

Once its bogged down with running antivirus, firewall, and security applications I'd hate to have to rely on these when I need a medical office visit.

Hey! :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26658497)

I'd like this: a small, low-power tablet suitable for klutzes.

I'm not a klutz, you insensitive clod.. Oh wait... -trips and breaks the new toughbook-

Benefits for medical professionals (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | about 6 years ago | (#26658571)

From TFA:

Will the ToughBook CF-H1 revolutionise the medical profession? Probably not, but it will certainly make the lives of medical professionals easier.

Medical professional easier to do work = more contended = less need to raise pay = save salary money in long run!

Oops (2, Funny)

sstpm (1463079) | about 6 years ago | (#26658659)

That would be a heck of a thing to leave inside a patient after surgery.

Re:Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26661115)

Most likely the only thing I would enjoy being left inside me during a surgery. I'd gladly rip open my chest cavity to fish one of them out.

Secure? (3, Insightful)

ParanoidJanitor (959839) | about 6 years ago | (#26659049)

It doesn't seem like such a good idea to integrate an RFID reader into the tablet as a security device. Any hospital that can afford equipment like this will probably have tons of people walking down the hall with RFIDs that can grant access to these things. The only way that this could really add to the security is if it's part of some multiple authentication system (i.e. require two methods of authentication to log in out of three, but even that sounds like a bad idea.)

There was also no mention of any encryption of the medical records stored on these things. I definitely wouldn't trust Windows permissions to keep the records on these safe. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great step toward making hospitals more efficient, but they need to be secure or they'll just be a liability.

Re:Secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26659283)

I would think it best to use the rfid to auto log out when the user leaves the device.

Re:Secure? (2, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | about 6 years ago | (#26659545)

Think reading the RFID from the patients wrist band to verify the correct records are being used.

Re:Secure? (2, Interesting)

pathological liar (659969) | about 6 years ago | (#26659667)

RFID tags are good for more than just authentication... they're used for tracking things too, remember? There was an article a while ago I think about RFID tagging surgical instruments to help avoid them being left in the patient. I'm not sure if this thing will be able to be brought into an OR or not, but you could conceivably have pharmacists scanning things before giving them out, nurses/misc. staff scanning things before use, etc.

There's no reason for records to be stored on them at all, that's what VPNs are for.

Re:Secure? (4, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 6 years ago | (#26660113)

Many hospitals are using RFID not as an authentication, but as an identifier. IE, this is patient X, and these are their 13 medications, without having to scan all 13 medications at the same time. Embedded in prescription labels and wristbands and such.

RFIDs have all kinds of medical uses (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 6 years ago | (#26660619)

Leaving aside any security-specific use of RFID reading (such as checking that the person trying to get information from the computer has the correct RFID badge, which he took when he was taking the computer), RFID readers do have a lot of potential use in hospitals - tracking medication, reading patient ID bracelets to make sure you've got the right set of records and meds for the patient, making sure this is the anesthetized patient who needs their leg cut off, not the one who needs their appendix out, inventorying all kinds of stuff, etc.

Re:Secure? (1)

Ironica (124657) | about 6 years ago | (#26661163)

Patient records in EMR systems are not stored on the client.

If you do it right, the RFID reader should automatically log out a person if their tag gets too far away, so that you can put down the device and go get a cup of coffee with less risk of someone sneaking in and looking up records while you're away from the machine.

Ideally, of course, this thing would have a cupholder, so you wouldn't need to put it down to get a cup of coffee, but maybe next version.

Re:Secure? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 years ago | (#26662323)

"they need to be secure or they'll just be a liability"

Better, let's take the profit motive completely out of the health industry and then absolve the providers (all non-profit) of liability except in cases of negligence.

As long as %30-95 of all health costs are siphoned off as profits, the system is going to suck.

Re:Secure? (1)

megaditto (982598) | about 6 years ago | (#26663005)

That's just stupid. Before we start screwing around with our healthcare, I suggest we need to do a test run. Take the profit motive out of the sports industry first.

If socialism works out well for SuperBowl and such, we might do the same for healthcare.

Re:Secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26666597)

yeah profit sounds like a great motivator for quality healthcare until someone is using a cost-benefit analysis to determine your treatment

Re:Secure? (1)

megaditto (982598) | about 6 years ago | (#26667147)

What do you think happens in a socialist healthcare system? You think the party writes a blank check for each patient?

I know I'd rather get my healthcare from a well-compensated doctor than a forced laborer.

But... (0, Offtopic)

markdavis (642305) | about 6 years ago | (#26659239)

does it run Linux?

SOMEBODY has to ask, you know.

Atom-Powered? (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 6 years ago | (#26659257)

Was I the only one whose first thought was about the stupidity of putting an RTG in a laptop?

Re:Atom-Powered? (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | about 6 years ago | (#26659769)


(and I really curious about the backlight - Cerenkov radiation?)

Re:Atom-Powered? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#26659857)

Oh, look at that lovely blue hue.

Re:Atom-Powered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26661523)

Well, the first one to make a dumb joke about it.

Re:Atom-Powered? (1)

Tycho (11893) | about 6 years ago | (#26661743)

No, I just thought that pairing an Intel Atom processor with Windows Vista in any device that needs to be considered usable in some capacity was stupid. This device manages to violate and manage to fall even farther below whatever standards I originally had as to both the uselessness and stupidity present in both the Atom Processor and Windows Vista individually.

Combining these two products has actually made them both worth even less than the products would be separately. Using these components, this tablet is a product worth less after being assembled and thus these components would be worth more in their unassembled state in their original shipping containers.

For a roughly $3000 machine like this, and using the same suppliers there should be a ULV Core 2 Solo or Duo present and it should run Windows XP. I suppose a more intelligent decision for this device might involve an AMD Turion variant with an RS690M or RS780M chipset. The system originally mentioned in the review could never run Vista Buisiness at any better than speeds that would be measured in a geological timescale, like continental drift from plate tectonics. I suppose a Geforce 9300 chipset coupled with a Core 2 would also work. Choosing to run Linux might also be a good idea and using some sort of ARM processor might also help a fair amount in the sanity (and cost) department.

Nice try Intel, Microsoft and Panasonic, but this is still an epic fail. As currently designed, this is overkill in the OS category, and falls far short of what is required in the CPU category when the fact that Vista is considered. A device like this could be much smaller, cheaper, and even more rugged than this over-engineered piece of trash. The product line that these three jokers err... corporations might end up producing would disappear like iPod competitors when a more useful competing product came out, not that Apple would release a product like this.

Re:Atom-Powered? (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 6 years ago | (#26662415)

You're underestimating at least one little detail. It's fanless and free of moving parts. Working in surgery, I can tell you that is extremely important if it is to be used anywhere near the operating room enviroment. Even netbooks like the EEE still get hot enough to incorporate a fan. Leaving it out means that there has to be some other cooling system. Then there is the fact that it has no outer openings (also very important), meaning there are no vents.

It doesnt need to be running anything very powerful, as it will likely be running as a thin client anyways. Also, remember that Win 7 is right around the corner and I've heard of people running it smoothly on systems with 512mb of ram. Of course they cant put that on it yet, but that would be the logical progression once it is commerically availible.

Cool Hacking Device (3, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | about 6 years ago | (#26659395)

Okay, so let me get this straight, in one Tablet you've got a wireless smart card reader, an RFID reader, a barcode scanner, a finger print scanner, a 2Mpixel camera w/dual LED lights, can house two battery packs, 802.11 a/b/g/draft-n, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR,

and according TFA

You can also specify an integrated 7.2mbps HSDPA adapter, or even a GPS receiver.

Except for the 1GB RAM, and the Atom processor, this sounds like a Security Crackers dream box (for information gathering, or anything where you won't need quick keyboard access).

Re:Cool Hacking Device (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 6 years ago | (#26666145)

You may be interested in the Panasonic Toughbook CF-U1 then. Its smaller, has a built in keyboard and can be spec'ed with the same optional hardware. I had one for evaluation at work and it was pretty slick.

http://www.panasonic.com/business/Toughbook/ultra-mobile-rugged-toughbook-u1-umpc.asp [panasonic.com]

Never mind all that.... (1)

TW Atwater (1145245) | about 6 years ago | (#26659905)

"Of course it can be dropped and doused in water"

Never mind that. How will it stand up to being sewed inside a patient's abdomen?

Re:Never mind all that.... (2, Insightful)

Gyga (873992) | about 6 years ago | (#26661077)

It'll stand up a little better than the patient would.

Portable == easy to steal (2, Informative)

benjfowler (239527) | about 6 years ago | (#26660231)

It looks like a really nifty piece of kit. Rugged, good-looking and portable. And easy to steal (let's ignore the fact that you'd look like a complete tit if you tried to fence of of these things down the pub).

I'd hope to God that sensitive patient clinical data is either very well secured on the machine (e.g. encrypted hard drives), or accessed remotely.

Well, I'm not saying that it would be any harder to steal than a paper patient medical record file (which aren't all that hard to steal or interfere with because lots of people are careless), but being an expensive piece of kit, much more attractive to opportunistic thieves. Not to mention the fact that an inch-thick ruggedized PC can store a HELL of a lot more sensitive data than an inch-thick bundle of paper patient records.

Re:Portable == easy to steal (2, Informative)

crazycheetah (1416001) | about 6 years ago | (#26662085)

At the hospital where I work, all of the data is held on the servers and accessed through a Citrix client. As painful as that is some days, it does solve that problem, as far as anyone running off with the computer, anyway. Not sure how everyone else does it, though, but we use one of the more popular software packages from CERNER--and how I hate their package in our environment lately, but it's practically my job.

Yes, but... (0, Offtopic)

KGBear (71109) | about 6 years ago | (#26660443)

...Does it run Linux?

Re:Yes, but... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#26660625)

I have seen ambulance officers here in Victoria, Australia using hardened laptops. I took a peek and they appear to run windows.

If I plug it in... (1)

mbstone (457308) | about 6 years ago | (#26660699)

will it make my electric meter run backwards?

Tough, but not hospital safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26660849)

With all the radios in this tablet, I doubt any hospital is going to let it near any patients attached to medical devices. RF interference with medical devices, anyone?

Atom (1)

mqduck (232646) | about 6 years ago | (#26661051)

Funny, I was pretty sure that my computer, myself and my heater were all atom-powered.

See Also: Motion Computing C5 (4, Informative)

Symphonix (901135) | about 6 years ago | (#26661157)

http://motioncomputing.com/products/tablet_pc_c5.asp [motioncomputing.com] I have the Motion C5 here right now on trial, and can't help but notice the similarity.

Re:See Also: Motion Computing C5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26662041)

Maybe they've improved it some, but at my job (I work in an Emergency Room), we use some Motion Computing tablets. I doubt they're as good as the C5, anyway, but I hate the bloody things. We've had numerous problems with things breaking and what-not. That might just be because my co-workers are freaking morons that I question how they ever even got the damn job, but we're trying out a Dell tablet because of the problems. Besides the fact that the Dell has a keyboard--and the docking stations with keyboard from Motion Computing for the tablets we have are absolute *CRAP* that feels like it should cost maybe $10 despite being $300 according to the IT guys--it's proving to be all around better about it. Sadly, we only have one of those Dells, and the rest are the Motion Computing ones that suck.

If only I could get them to use either better ones from MC (if they have really gotten better than our pieces of crap), this one, or more of the dells. Though I still fear if any of them are moron-proof. Then again, why we need moron-proof tablets in the ER still blows my mind, but we really do...

Re:See Also: Motion Computing C5 (2, Informative)

drachenstern (160456) | about 6 years ago | (#26662079)

Atom processor, dual batteries, and the Toughbook name. I'ld say those are three distinct differences. Before you pointed it out, I had no idea that motioncomputing made ruggedized laptops. Granted, I don't do anything requiring ruggedized laptops, but I knew that Panasonic made the Toughbook. So having said all that, I'll just touch up one other point. The reason I called out the Atom over the Core processor on your C5, is that the Atom is lower powered, thus generating less heat over time, and it'll suck less battery as well. Granted, the hog on these IS the LCD, so there's not a tremendous amount of difference, but still.

Re:See Also: Motion Computing C5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26671393)

Yeah, the C5 was first to market, beating the Panny by 1-2 years. Even though the Panny is newer, the C5 is better than the Panny in many ways (arguably better overall by a wide margin)

Available at $20,000 from a hospital near you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26661797)

Just my guess.

Toughbooks live up to their name... sort of. (4, Informative)

Soulfader (527299) | about 6 years ago | (#26662803)

We used a Panasonic Toughbook in Afghanistan in some pretty nasty places, and it held up very well. Never had any problems except for the screen, which just couldn't take the dust contamination and the scratches, and even that could have been alleviated somewhat by not using the stylus.

We had an adapter that allowed us to charge the thing off one of our standard 5590 SINCGARS radio batteries. Even batteries too discharged for the radio would power the laptop for a few more hours; a fresh one would run the laptop for 24 hours or so.

Re:Toughbooks live up to their name... sort of. (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 6 years ago | (#26671773)

Sounds like a good laptop. But it's a tablet, which adds something like $1K to the cost of the thing. That money is pretty much wasted if you can't use the stylus in the environment the "tablet" was supposed to be designed for.

Re:Toughbooks live up to their name... sort of. (1)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748607)

In all fairness, I don't think the system designers who picked out the Toughbook expected us to be using it out on top of a hillside while people were shooting at us. The cumbersome and heavy nature of the rest of the equipment bears that out; it was "nominally" man-packable, but really designed (I suspect) for someone to use from a nice hotel somewhere... The Toughbook was probably just a scheme to add a few Gs to the overall price. The software interface WAS designed for touch screen, unfortunately, which meant that it was very difficult to use with a keyboard.

I can see a lot of places that could use this... (1)

jhfry (829244) | about 6 years ago | (#26666357)

$2000 is cheap for a device as versatile as this.

Think shipping and receiving docks, law enforcement, bars restaurants (digital order taking, entertainment), and many many more industries where something like this would be awesome.

My biggest issue with computers today is the idea that a keyboard is required, or even necessary.

I would love to see far more development focused on purpose built computing using general computing equipment. Kinda like they are doing with the netbooks. This would make devices like this, and other low powered computers, much more usable.

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