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Via Multimedia, A Fantastic Voyage To The Lungs...

Bits & Bytes


HyperLung. It isn't new scuba gear but the latest way for medical students to learn about lung disease and treatment. Designed by doctors at the University of Iowa's College of Medicine, HyperLung is a multimedia compact disk (CD-ROM) containing text, audio, full-color charts, and digitized X-rays. It runs on Macintosh desktop computers.

The most striking feature of HyperLung is its extensive video footage. Not only can medical students see and hear how a child with croup breathes, but also they can view footage taken by a special minicamera fed down a patient's trachea to the lungs. "Some students would go through years of medical school and never see this stuff," says Dr. William Erkonen, an instructor and researcher at the university who wants to distribute HyperLung free of charge to other medical centers. He also says that the university plans to produce a series of disks on everything from blood clots to gastrointestinal diseases.Edited by Paul M. EngReturn to top


So far, most applications for multimedia computing have been in education and employee training. But Lotus Development Corp. thinks the technology is ripe for mainstream business software. The Cambridge (Mass.) software maker now has plans to add sound, pictures, and full-motion video to its line of spreadsheets, word processing, presentation-graphics, and communications programs.

For starters, Lotus says, multimedia may work best in programs, such as the company's Notes package, that enable groups of co-workers to communicate and share ideas easily. With the ability to add video and voice messages to Notes, work groups would be able to communicate in a richer fashion. For instance, a property-management company could send and receive -- on a worldwide network -- voice-annotated videos of all the malls it owns. Lotus also plans to add video and sounds to the "help" functions in its 1-2-3 spreadsheets. This way, if you want to learn a new trick, a talking head can pop up on the screen and tell you about it. Pricing and availability dates for these products are to be announced.Edited by Paul M. EngReturn to top


British Telecom has taken so long to line up other phone companies as partners for Syncordia, its global networking company, that rivals such as Sprint Corp. like to call it Discordia. The mission of Atlanta-based Syncordia Corp. is to take over the operation of global voice and data networks owned by multinational companies, cutting costs and relieving the multinationals of complex network-management tasks. But since Syncordia was unveiled last October, it has signed up only two customers. Others may be holding off until they're sure British Telecommunications PLC's projected two partners -- who would help manage the global networks -- are really planning to sign on.

British Telecom Chairman Iain D. T. Vallance says Syncordia is making progress, but slowly. Japan's Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. continues to press its government for permission to join Syncordia, despite a law restricting NTT to domestic markets. And Vallance says that Eucom, a new joint venture of Deutsche Bundespost Telekom and France Telecom, could be the third leg of a Syncordia triad. He has to keep up the pressure -- or impatient companies that need someone to run their global networks could pull the ripcordia.Edited by Paul M. EngReturn to top

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