Kathy Gibson at Fujitsu Forum, Munich — Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) have moved past the hype stage and into the real world, where they are being used to literally save lives.
Fujitsu has implemented a couple of healthcare projects where AI is being employed to improve patient care, increase diagnostic accuracy and keep track of patients even when they have left the healthcare facility.
The company has implemented an advanced Internet of Things (IoT) solution for Slingeland Hospital in the Netherlands that uses sensors to enable nursing staff to continuously monitor patients’ vital signs while they are anywhere within the hospital.
This system provides the information needed to support informed medical decisions and to provide a higher quality of care. It also releases nursing staff from performing regular monitoring checks and frees them up for other duties.
The solution revolves around two smart sensors that can continuously monitor each patient’s status. One is a wearable wireless blood pressure monitor for the wrist and the other is a band aid-like “health patch” worn on the chest.
The system has resulted in improves patient outcomes, reduced treatment time and more effective staff planning.
The same concept is also being carried to out-patients. Fujitsu has partnered with doctors in the Gait Expertise Centre at Sint Maartenskliniek to provide 24/7 monitoring for patients.
This means doctors can check in on patients even as they are recovering in the comfort of their own homes.
The system is enabled by Fujitsu IoT devices worn by out-patients, that capture their movement, balance and other vital signs data.
Regaining mobility after an operation or stroke is a key part of a patient’s recovery and, by tracking this information, doctors can assess how quickly they can literally get back on their feet. It also allows the hospital to schedule visits only when they are needed.
The sensor is a band around the wrist or ankle, which periodically synchronises data to the cloud.
Healthcare isn’t the only area where advanced technology is improving human life: an AI partnership between Fujitsu and Siemens Gamesa is helping to improve the quality of wind turbines and so ensure a reliable power supply.
Siemens Gamesa is a leader in wind turbines. The blades on these turbines are up to 75m long and are expected to work without any breakdown for about 25 years.
So it’s important that they are in optimum condition when they are shipped.
The tradition way of doing quality control involved ultrasound scans which were then examined by an expert. This examination would typically takes hours — up to a full day for the bigger blades — and was subject to all the human frailties of exhaustion, tedium, eyestrain and more.
Now, deep learning is being used to analyse the massive amounts of data generated by the ultrasound scans, and to pick up potential problem areas.
The non-destructive testing process is able to quickly identify any manufacturing defects in the fibreglass blades.
Siemens Gamesa is able to complete an inspection in just quarter of the time it took previously, freeing up engineers from this monotonous but necessary task.
The company produces 5 000 blades every year, so the approximately 22 000 hours thus saved translates into a massive cost reduction.