Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is Android Viable for Medical Devices?

I recently attended the RTECC Boston Conference and was not disappointed.

Of particular interest was the keynote address by Alan Cohen of LogicPD about the viability of using the Android operating system for medical devices.

I approached the conference with 3 key questions, which I've since answered below.

1. Why Android?

Android is a complete framework built on embedded Linux with a fully implemented GUI right out of the box. It can begin developing an application very quickly, is a terrific development environment to rapidly develop a proof of concept, and is highly customizable.

2. Is the Android operating system suitable for medical electronics?

Android is only suitable as an adjunct to time-critical or life-critical processing. It is not a Real-Time Kernel (RTOS) and therefore not suitable for hard real-time applications.

3. Will Android be relegated to display-only functionality?

Mostly, but relegated is too strong a word. It is ideal for user-interactive applications since, according to Alan Cohen, there is a convergence in the medical device world and the consumer world.

Some key Android points:

• Built on Linux

• Built-in power management module is non-trivial since it is geared to phone/data devices

• Application licensing can be tricky (the kernel is GPL license). Even though Android is free, some Android Device manufacturers nonetheless pay royalty fees to Microsoft?

• Android allows very easy creation of embedded Linux applications with GUIs



1 comment:

  1. What about developing a native mobile Android app from our J2EE Struts 2.0 web app?

    I've seen many advertized 'instant converters' that basically convert a web 2.0 app to a mobile app using the 'Web' approach vs. a native mobile app or a hybrid using tools like JQuery Mobile with PhoneGap or IBM's Worklight.

    Since our web app is J2EE - Struts 2.0 how much of an effort would it be to migrate-port it to a Android app written in Java?