webcam_monitoring_icus

Emily St. Martin, 4 months old, is seen in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. Her parents, Laura and David St. Martin, with their daughter Jacqueline, 2, watch her from a web cam installed over her crib, seen at top left. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Here’s an interesting article describing how webcams are being used in newborn ICUs at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, amongst other institutions.

Now parents, grandparents and friends can log in to babycams in hospitals around the U.S. and several countries. At least eight domestic hospitals have installed such systems, and several dozen others are testing trial setups.

The article uses the term “webcam” but it looks to be a specialized IP camera rather than a webcam most people are familiar with, and I should hope it’s specialized, given the price – $9000 per camera!

…the hospital pays about $9,000 per camera. “With a prototype you need to overbuild. Now we’re talking about a more basic version that could be sold for a couple-thousand or less.”

Obviously this type of specialized application is in its early days, but the idea of video monitoring your children at daycare for example, has been around for some time. These sorts of applications will continue to explode if current video surveillance trends continue, not least of which is the price of IP cameras coming down, combined with the power and simplicity of cloud computing.

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