I’m a techguy by education and background (literally @techguy on Twitter) and so I love cool new tech toys. Plus, I’m a boy and you know boys and their toys. So, I was really excited when leading into HIMSS, Revolve Robotics offered to send me a Kubi which I could test out. I’ve personally found that with devices, the only way I can really effectively write about them is to have one and use it for a while. A 15-30 minute canned test at an exhibit hall just doesn’t work for me. With that in mind, I put the Kubi through its paces while I was away at HIMSS.
For those not famliar with the Kubi, it’s a robotic arm that makes video conferencing much more engaging since the person on the other end of the video conference can control the Kubi and point it in any direction they want. It’s literally as if you were present and turned your head a different direction to see what else was happening in the room.
Here’s some pictures which show the Kubi in an actual patient room (click on the image to see a larger version):
The Kubi works with a variety of iOS and Android devices. I was surprised that even my Samsung S5 smartphone fit into the Kubi. Along with the Kubi itself there are 2 different mobile applications. One you can use to control the Kubi while using Skype, Google Hangouts, etc for the video conferencing. The other app is Kubi video which provides a really seamless integration between controlling the Kubi and streaming video. It’s pretty slick to connect and just click where you want the Kubi to “look”.
One challenge in healthcare is that Kubi video is not HIPAA compliant, but Revolve Robotics recently announced partnerships with swyMed to offer a real telemedicine solution for healthcare on top of the Kubi. They’re also working with partners like swyMed to integrate the Kubi control functions into these third party video conference providers. That will be a great feature since it is a little odd to control the Kubi with one app and have the video conference working in another one.
As I start to think about how a Kubi and video conferencing application could be used in healthcare, I can see a number of opportunities. On the one hand you have the patient focused applications which allow someone who’s “stuck” in a hospital bed to be able to communicate with their caregivers or loved ones. Often, the patient can’t even get out of the bed or isn’t strong enough to hold up a tablet for an extended period of time. The Kubi solves that problem. Plus, it allows the friends and family to look around the hospital room. I can …read more