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.
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.
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.
Remember when the average American home was Mom, Dad, and 2.2 kids? High divorce rates, single-parent households, and lower birth rates have changed all that. So, would you believe the new American household will soon be Mom, Dad, and 2.2 computers? That's the future as projected by Channel Marketing Corp., a Dallas-based consulting firm.
Channel Marketing predicts that a surge of home-computer buying will mean that the typical household will have 2.2 PCs by 1999. That's about seven times the current level of 0.3 PCs for each of the 94 million households in the U.S. David Goldstein, president of Channel Marketing, notes several factors behind the explosive growth of PCs in the home. One of the more impressive and obvious ones is the decline of prices -- an estimated 20% per year. But trends such as the growth of home-based businesses and the popularity of such on-line information services as Prodigy are driving home users' demand for the machines, too.
Sports scholarships can help pay for a college education. But while the nation's most outstanding athletes are easily picked up by top schools, most jocks wind up overlooked by the thousands of colleges that offer athletic grants but don't have national recruiting programs.
Sports-Tech International sees this as an opportunity. The Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) company is marketing Collegiate Athletic Network, a computerized data base of over 200,000 team positions at more than 3,200 U.S. colleges and universities. For a onetime fee of $49.95, students can be matched with an average of 15 schools -- and appropriate coaches -- by filling out a simple athletic and academic questionnaire. In addition to receiving information about some $300 million worth of athletic aid, participating students will have their profiles placed on the network. Sports-Tech, a maker of computerized systems that help coaches develop team strategies, says that will help head-hunting coaches spot above-average jocks.