The 'Internet Of Touch' For Telemedicine

Science fiction writers have long imagined telemedicine, but doing it over the Internet will require a lot of work on new standards.

If a network drops a packet or experiences a latency hiccup, most of the current crop of consequences are bearable: a video stutter, res-downgrade or buffer-swirl on Netflix; ‘some text missing’ in a standard SMS message; or an undeserved frag in a multiplayer shoot-out.

In the realms of remote surgery, events of this nature really can signal ‘game over’, particularly if an anomalous – rather than dropped – packet quite literally sends the wrong signal momentarily to a robot that’s performing a millimetre-critical telesurgical procedure. Data glitches during cybernetic coitus are likely to be less injurious, but to just as emphatically kill the mood; and at the very least, poor latency in biofeedback is likely to cause the same kind of ‘cyber-sickness’ that gamers can experience when the ‘equal and opposite’ reaction they were expecting wipes its feet at the door.

A group of researchers from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) are considering [PDF] these and other impediments to the development of the ‘haptic internet’, a touch/pressure-based iteration of the internet which, they believe, will ‘revolutionise almost every segment of society’ – if a massive leap of network quality can be achieved.

To this end the researchers propose changes both in the way that haptic information is transmitted and received, and in exploiting the multiplexing capabilities of 5G to bring near-‘real-time’ feedback without the high overhead of a TCP approach or the unreliability of a system based on User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

As far as I know, the first telemedicine reference in science fiction dates from 1909, in EM Forster's amazing The Machine Stops:

"Kuno," she said, "I cannot come to see you. I am not well."

Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling, a thermometer was automatically laid upon her heart. She lay powerless. Cool pads soothed her forehead. Kuno had telegraphed to her doctor.

So the human passions still blundered up and down in the Machine. Vashti drank the medicine that the doctor projected into her mouth, and the machinery retired into the ceiling.
(Read more about Forster's telemedicine apparatus)

Telemedicine also played a role in the excellent 1999 science fiction novel Starfish by Peter Watts. The primary action in the novel takes place near a deep undersea rift; as with astronauts, it is very time-consuming and expensive process to retrieve workers from these depths. So, the author posits the use of a medical mantis:

There's this praying mantis a meter long, all black with chrome trim, hanging upside down from the ceiling of the Medical cubby. ..it hovers over his face, jointed arms clicking and dipping like crazy articulated chopsticks...

The mantis stops in midmotion, its antennae quivering... "Hello, er-Gerry, isn't it?" it says at last. "I'm Dr. Troyka." (Read more.)

Via The Stack.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/3/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Communication ")

Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...' - John Varley, 1984.

HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.

SmileCloud Bubloons Are Custom Clouds
'Spurgle kicked at the letter G... It was a monstrous white thing, ten feet thick, half a city block long...' - Alan Nelson, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...'

Liquid Metal Shape-Changing 'Soft Robotics'
'A mimetic poly-alloy... 'What the hell does that mean?''

The Hammock Caravan And Italo Calvino's Octavia
'Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made.'

Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.

Have I Seen The Tesla Roadster Story Before?
'Only it wasn't a vessel. It was an automobile...'

Watch 'Do You Trust This Computer' For Free Today
Thanks for making this available, Elon.

Self-Driving Car Ticketed
This just missed making my day.

Elon Musk Tweets Versions Of Clarke's Operation Cleanup
'Fortunately, the old orbital forts were superbly equipped for this task.'

Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...'

Walmart’s Autonomous Robot Bees
Everyone loves bees.

EA Created AI That Taught Itself To Play Battlefield
Harmless fun for computer scientists.

Is Teleportation A Death Sentence?
'A long trail of dead, he thought, left across the stars...'

New Brain Scanner Lets You Move Around
'In Bob Arctor's living room his thousand dollar custom-quality cephscope crafted by Altec...'

Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
'The miles of relays and photocells had given way to the spongy globe of platinum iridium about the size of the human brain.'

Physicists Try To Turn Light Into Matter
If E=mc squared, then... m=E/c squared!

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.