Monday, January 28, 2008

The Ultimate Radiology Keyboard?

As reported in PACS World, "a blog for Radiology network administrators", there is a brand new take on keyboards that would work wonderfully for PACS.

From the Art. Lebedev Studio comes the modestly named Optimus Maximus keyboard. It is rather pricey at $462.27 US, but for this you get something rather wonderful:

Each key is a stand-alone display that shows the function currently assigned to it.

Optimus’s customizable layout allows convenient use of any language—Cyrillic, Ancient Greek, Georgian, Arabic, Quenya, hiragana, etc.—as well as of any other character sets: notes, numerals, special symbols, HTML codes, math functions and so on to infinity.

If this doesn't make the idea clear, try the Optimus demo. There are some other versions coming or already here, such as the Optimus mini three:

Optimus mini three is an auxiliary keyboard-informer with OLED technology. The three keys can display static or animated images. Optimus mini three keyboard can be used as a toolbar, a remote control, an indicator or an RSS reader.


Optimus mini three keys display information associated or independent of the running program. For example, you can be watching a film on your computer, while the keyboard displays a weather forecast, exchange rates or mail notifications.

Optimus mini three works in sync with the regular keyboard and is so configured that its current layout changes as you press the modifier keys (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, and their combinations).

This is really, really a phenomenal development. The author of PACSworld mentions the following applications to PACS:

For instance on a work list screen there may be some icons displayed on the keyboard indicating things like:

  • Move patient
  • Delete Patient
  • Edit Patient
  • etc.

But when the Radiologist is in Viewing mode there may be buttons that display icons for:

  • Next slice
  • previous slice
  • render 3D
  • annotation
  • exit viewer
  • etc.

The implementation of such a keyboard could mean a much shorter training period as the radiologists will have all the relevant buttons displayed to them directly on their keyboards.Now all that radiology needs is a standard set of icons that is universal to all PACS systems and the learning curve between systems will be much shorter!

This is almost like something out of Star Trek, where the LCARS (Library Computer Access and Retreival System) control panels supposedly are state-dependent and change with the current situation:

PACS is the perfect environment for such a display. But until we get to SickBay on the Enterprise, the Optimus may be a pretty good second best.


roentgen said...

Wow, this is really cool. Would love to see it make its way into the radiology reporting rooms.

Gives radiology trekkers a chance to "engage" and boldly go where no image has gone before... :D

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