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Android for medical applications

12/27/2010 05:00 PM EST
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sxchan
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re: Android for medical applications
sxchan   2/24/2011 4:25:47 PM
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Java is not preferred choice for safety critical system product development, especially devices which are having User Interface. Without Android UI framework, is there any value it adds compare to Embedded Linux. Other than power management and Apachce style licence support?

ok
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re: Android for medical applications
ok   1/9/2011 2:15:26 PM
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I agree with you

alcohen
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re: Android for medical applications
alcohen   1/5/2011 8:28:10 PM
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Embedded Linux is used in a fair number of medical devices, although you wouldn't necessarily know which ones since manufacturers don't usually supply that info. Android-based devices are on the way - new medical devices typically take a good deal longer to get to market, as compared to consumer products. Alan Cohen Logic PD

t.alex
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re: Android for medical applications
t.alex   1/5/2011 3:10:43 PM
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Android is just another variant of embedded linux anyway. Have we seen any embedded linux deployed for medical apps?

gflolid
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re: Android for medical applications
gflolid   1/4/2011 2:45:41 PM
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The most safety critical part of the infusion pump is the user interface because the most frequent cause of harm to patients is the pump being mis-programmed by nurses. Using SOUP as the foundation for the User Interface creates a challenge for proving the pump is safe under all conditions. Good luck showing full test coverage for Android.

alcohen
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re: Android for medical applications
alcohen   1/4/2011 1:24:51 PM
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Sanjib - in IEC 62304, the standard used most often to govern medical software development, software like Android is considered SOUP (Software of Unknown Provenance). 62304 calls out the circumstances in which SOUP can be used, and the standards for ensuring safety. Alan Cohen Logic PD

mkellett
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re: Android for medical applications
mkellett   1/4/2011 8:29:57 AM
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The "application note" cited is not from Texas Instruments but from Arrow and it's not really an app note but a bit of sales waffle. I would not like my life to be dependent on such an architecture ! The pump is directly controlled by a processor with wireless and other interfaces, running some kind of GUI etc etc. There is no way that the code on such a monster could possibly be fully tested and no way it was ever written to an acceptable standard for a device which might be a few steps of the the pump from killing the patient. Any rational design for an infusion pump will separate the direct pump control from the GUI and networking stuff - by running the tasks on different processors so that the low integrity stuff (like pretty gui presentation) can be kept away from the truly safety critical.

Sanjib.A
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re: Android for medical applications
Sanjib.A   1/4/2011 3:24:05 AM
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Hi Alan, thanks for sharing your opinion on this topic, well supported by technical information. I agree! I am not sure if Android is ready to be used even with the Class I & II (non-life sustaining) devices. Still it needs to be compliant with the respective regulations and standards as applicable to different markets, correct?

Robotics Developer
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re: Android for medical applications
Robotics Developer   1/4/2011 3:20:03 AM
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I want to thank you for the link to the Android overview article. It was informative and addressed a number of the questions that arose while reading this article. I would add that oftentimes, the best OS is one that the engineering group is familiar with already and given enough experienced people a quicker time to market with fewer bugs. It happens often enough that the next product uses the previous products OS (again a known entity), what does it take to draw the engineering and risk management people to a different OS, whether Android or CE?

alcohen
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re: Android for medical applications
alcohen   1/3/2011 11:09:43 PM
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With regards to some of the issues raised by insightful readers, an important thing for manufacturers to consider are the controls around software updates and other changes. While I enjoy hacking my Droid, hacking a critical medical device is something most manufacturers would like to discourage, and this is very do-able. Medical devices, by-and-large, are built (and tested) to reliably meet a very specific need. This is a different paradigm than for most other Android devices (phones, tablets, etc) which are general platforms. Medical device manufacturers can take steps to ensure that only officially-supported versions of Android and other software will run, and these will support the correct screen resolution, peripherals, etc. It is definitely true that upgrading from one version of Android to another, when desired, will require some effort, particularly if the version of the underlying kernel version changes. The bulk of this effort will be around updating device drivers. This is no different than is the case for any Linux kernel upgrade. However,there's typically less pressure to upgrade OS versions on a medical device as the user is less exposed to the OS (i.e., they typically interact through the application) Alan Cohen Logic PD

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