Thursday April 25, 2019

Smart Speakers like Alexa and Google Home to Act as Aid to Physicians during Surgeries

Smart speakers can be programmed to act as an aid to physicians in hospital operating rooms

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The application processes questions from a human voice and provides recommendations on the precise sizing of medical devices. Pixabay

Amazon Echo with in-built Alexa or Google Home smart speakers can not only play your favourite songs at home but can also assist doctors during medical procedures, say researchers.

Smart speakers can be programmed to act as an aid to physicians in hospital operating rooms, researchers said on Saturday during the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual scientific meeting in Austin, Texas.

Smart home speakers offer a conversational voice interface that allows interventional radiology (IR) physicians to ask questions and retrieve information needed for their patient treatments without breaking sterile scrub.

During treatment, IRs rely on nuanced medical information delivered in a timely manner.

amazon, echo, alexa
Smart speakers can be programmed to act as an aid to physicians in hospital operating rooms. Pixabay

“When you’re in the middle of a procedure, you need to remain sterile, so you lose the ability to use a computer,” said Kevin Seals, MD, a fellow in interventional radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

This smart speaker technology helps us to quickly and intelligently make decisions relevant to a patient’s specific needs, added Seals, who is also the lead author of the study.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers at UCSF developed a device-sizing application for the Google Home smart speaker.

The application processes questions from a human voice and provides recommendations on the precise sizing of medical devices.

There are hundreds of devices, with more being introduced every day, making it difficult to determine the correct sizing or materials needed in every circumstance.

amazon, echo, alexa
Smart home speakers offer a conversational voice interface that allows interventional radiology (IR) physicians to ask questions and retrieve information needed for their patient treatments without breaking sterile scrub. Pixabay

“This technology allows physicians to concentrate more closely on the care of their patients, devoting less time and mental energy to device technicalities,” noted Seals.

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In developing the application, size specifications were acquired using literature reviews for 475 IR devices, such as catheters, sheaths, stents, vascular plugs and others.

“Further research will look to provide information from electronic health records and patient clinical data, such as allergies or prior surgeries,” said researchers. (IANS)

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Adding Human-Like Features to Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa may Actually Disappoint Users

During the study, Sundar found that chat bots that had human features -- such as a human avatar -- but lacked interactivity, disappointed people who used it

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alexa, siri, amazon echo
"People are pleasantly surprised when a chat bot with fewer human cues has higher interactivity," said Sundar. Wikimedia

An Indian American researcher-led team has found that giving human touch to chat bots like Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa may actually disappoint users.

Just giving a chat bot human name or adding human-like features to its avatar might not be enough to win over a user if the device fails to maintain a conversational back-and-forth with that person, according to S. Shyam Sundar, Co-director of Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University.

“People are pleasantly surprised when a chat bot with fewer human cues has higher interactivity,” said Sundar.

“But when there are high human cues, it may set up your expectations for high interactivity – and when the chat bot doesn’t deliver that – it may leave you disappointed,” he added. In fact, human-like features might create a backlash against less responsive human-like chat bots.

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Because there is an expectation that people may be leery of interacting with a machine, developers typically add human names to their chat bots — for example, Apple’s Siri — or programme a human-like avatar to appear when the chat bot responds to a user. Flickr

During the study, Sundar found that chat bots that had human features — such as a human avatar — but lacked interactivity, disappointed people who used it. However, people responded better to a less-interactive chat bot that did not have human-like cues.

High interactivity is marked by swift responses that match a user’s queries and feature a threaded exchange that can be followed easily.

According to Sundar, even small changes in the dialogue, like acknowledging what the user said before providing a response, can make the chat bot seem more interactive.

Because there is an expectation that people may be leery of interacting with a machine, developers typically add human names to their chat bots — for example, Apple’s Siri — or programme a human-like avatar to appear when the chat bot responds to a user.

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In fact, human-like features might create a backlash against less responsive human-like chat bots. Wikimedia

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also found that just mentioning whether a human or a machine is involved — or, providing an identity cue — guides how people perceive the interaction.

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For the study, the researchers recruited 141 participants through Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowd-sourced site that allows people to get paid to participate in studies. Sundar said the findings could help developers improve acceptance of chat technology among users. “There’s a big push in the industry for chat bots,” said Sundar.

“They’re low-cost and easy-to-use, which makes the technology attractive to companies for use in customer service, online tutoring and even cognitive therapy — but we also know that chat bots have limitations,” he added. (IANS)