post

How GOJO Industries helps hospitals monitor hand hygiene with secure IoT dispensers

GOJO Industries may be best known as the inventor of PURELL Hand Sanitizer, but the Ohio-based company is also a growing digital innovator in public health. In recent years, the company has deployed about 25,000 connected dispensers that help more than a hundred health care facilities monitor hand hygiene, a simple, effective way to prevent infections.

Traditionally, human observers tracked hygiene compliance in health organizations by watching if you washed your hands when you were supposed to. PURELL SMARTLINK Technology, a set of technology solutions from GOJO, streamlines that process with motion sensors, internet-connected dispensers and a cloud platform that collects and analyzes data.

The system’s infrared sensors detect hand-cleaning “opportunities’’ – every time someone goes in and out of a patient’s room, regardless of whether it’s a health professional or family member. Connected PURELL dispensers detect soap and sanitizer use, a recommended practice before and after seeing a patient. All the data funnels into an easy-to-use analytics portal, a helpful tool powered by the Microsoft Azure IoT platform for health care facilities that monitor thousands of dispensers and millions of “opportunities” a month.

Two health care workers look at a computer screen
Health care professionals look at hand hygiene data with a PURELL SMARTLINK Technology solution.

“Being able to quantify behaviors helps you understand your baseline for implementing interventions. At the end of the day, it comes down to trying to reduce the spread of disease through hands that aren’t clean,” says Jason Slater, technology solutions architect for PURELL SMARTLINK Technology.

One customer, a large health organization, saw an 82 percent increase over baseline in its hand hygiene compliance rate during an 18-month period of working with GOJO. “It’s all been pretty positive results,” Slater says.

Launched in 2012, PURELL SMARTLINK Technology is now undergoing an upgrade with Azure Sphere, a solution that enables highly secured, connected devices powered by a microcontroller unit, a small computer on a chip.

Announced last year, Azure Sphere will deliver end-to-end, internet of things (IoT) security for GOJO’s connected dispensers, which often become network endpoints in hospitals. The company is committed to comprehensive data security for customers and says it has never had a data breach with its devices.

“We work hand-in-hand with hospital IT staff and take a defense-in-depth approach,” says Slater. “We use best practices for security up and down our stack. Azure Sphere will allow us to really button up that last leg of our stack – hardware – to ensure we have the best protection against any potential security risks.”

The re-architecture continues GOJO’s innovative work with Azure IoT Hub, the cloud platform enabling PURELL SMARTLINK products. The platform’s “ready-built, command-and-control capabilities” allow GOJO to focus more on business use cases and less on technical “plumbing,” says Slater. “IoT Hub has been a great thing for us,” he says.

Recent innovations include a new system available this year to monitor hand cleaning of individuals and job roles. Instead of aggregating data of everyone going in and out of patient rooms, the solution will associate hand hygiene with employee badges via Bluetooth communication.

Health care worker in scrubs washes hands at a sink near a soap dispenser
A health care worker cleans her hands with a PURELL SMARTLINK solution.

“You can see how individuals or specific job roles are performing, whether it’s nurses, doctors or physical therapists, to improve coaching and interventions,” Slater says. “It was borne out of us listening to customers and their evolving needs.”

The system highlights GOJO’s continuum of solutions for different customers, including a solution that sends predictive alerts on refill and battery levels. The alerts help hospitals ensure product availability in critical hand hygiene moments.

The individual-monitoring solution also showcases the culture of ongoing innovation at GOJO, founded in 1946 by a couple that invented a waterless hand cleaner for factory workers.

“Technology can be an amazing enabler of all sorts of great services,” Slater says. “Ultimately, we’re always looking for a unique way to drive the GOJO purpose of saving lives and making life better through well-being solutions.”

Top photo: A nurse sanitizes her hands with a PURELL SMARTLINK solution before seeing a patient. (All photos courtesy of GOJO Industries)

Random: The Conspiracy Chatter Is Growing: Maybe There Is No Star Fox Grand Prix

SFGP

For some time now there have been whispers of a Retro Studios-developed racing game in the Star Fox universe. Many reliable sources that have gone on record regarding Star Fox Grand Prix, and everyone’s been expecting an announcement at every subsequent Direct. So far, Nintendo is keeping shtum, but footage from the latest Nintendo Direct has some people doubting its existence.

The latest trailer for the upcoming Starlink: Battle For Atlas update includes glimpses of starship races with Player One controlling an Arwing (skip to 14:30 in the Direct video below to see the above image in motion). A poster on ResetEra is postulating that all those sources have somehow misinterpreted this coming mode as the touted Star Fox racer.

It’s an interesting theory, to be sure, but the mental gymnastics needed to explain away Retro’s involvement don’t stand up to scrutiny. The idea that Retro’s work would somehow get recycled into a cross-platform Ubisoft property is absurd, as is the likelihood that numerous independent sources would have mistakenly jumped to the conclusion that Retro was working on it.

Unless Nintendo drops an incredible bombshell, you’ll have to wait until April to go to the races in your Arwing in any form on Switch. If nothing else, these theories show the dedication – and perhaps desperation – of a Star Fox fanbase starved of quality content. For anybody in that boat who hasn’t tried Starlink yet, we suggest you dive in immediately; prices are low and the game’s excellent on Switch. This weekend there’s even a ‘Free Toys Trial’ enabling you to try out some different Starships for a limited time.

It’s hard to deny the sheer quantity of sources that corroborate the rumours – why do you think Nintendo is taking so long to announce this game? Let us know your thoughts.

This Portable Nintendo Switch Speaker Is Now Funding On Kickstarter

Gaming accessory maker YesOJO has now launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for its dedicated portable Nintendo Switch speaker – an accessory first revealed last September.

The speaker hopes to provide buyers with a way to experience greater sound quality while playing Switch on the go, with the design clearly focusing on enhancing tabletop mode play. The speaker system features dual stereo 10W speakers for what YesOJO describes as “perfect audio quality and volume, providing rich audio quality and a deep resounding bass”.

As you can see in the trailer above, it also doubles up as a Switch dock, connecting to your TV via an HDMI cable. Perhaps our favourite part of the design, however, is the interchangeable panels, which just so happen to match the colours of Nintendo’s very own Joy-Con.

YesOJO tells us that, if the campaign is successful, the company will give away a free game card holder, and if $300,000 or more is raised, it’ll give away a free retro-style pro controller.

You can find more details about the product on its Kickstarter page – and pledge your support to get one for yourself, of course. At the time of writing the project is 20% funded with 40 days remaining. There are a limited number of Early Bird options available, costing an approximated £77 after currency conversion.

What do you think? Does this look like a cool accessory for your Switch? Would you like to enhance your console’s audio quality when on the go? Tell us below.

post

Audiophile Linux Promises Aural Nirvana

Linux isn’t just for developers. I know that might come as a surprise for you, but the types of users that work with the open source platform are as varied as the available distributions. Take yours truly for example. Although I once studied programming, I am not a developer.

The creating I do with Linux is with words, sounds, and visuals. I write books, I record audio, and a create digital images and video. And even though I don’t choose to work with distributions geared toward those specific tasks, they do exist. I also listen to a lot of music. I tend to listen to most of my music via vinyl. But sometimes I want to listen to music not available in my format of choice. That’s when I turn to digital music.

Having a Linux distribution geared specifically toward playing music might not be on the radar of the average user, but to an audiophile, it could be a real deal maker.

This bring us to Audiophile Linux. Audiophile Linux is an Arch Linux-based distribution geared toward, as the name suggests, audiophiles. What makes Audiophile Linux special? First and foremost, it’s optimized for high quality audio reproduction. To make this possible, Audiophile Linux features:

  • System and memory optimized for quality audio

  • Custom Real-Time kernel

  • Latency under 5ms

  • Direct Stream Digital support

  • Lightweight window manager (Fluxbox)

  • Pre installed audio and video programs

  • Lightweight OS, free of unnecessary daemons and services

Although Audiophile Linux claims the distribution is easily installed, it’s very much based on Arch Linux, so the installation is nowhere near as easy as, say, Ubuntu. At this point, you might be thinking, “But there’s already Ubuntu Studio, which is as easy to install as Ubuntu, and contains some of the same features!” That may be true, but there are users out there (even those of a more artistic bent) who prefer a decidedly un-Ubuntu distribution. On top of which, Ubuntu Studio would be serious overkill for anyone just looking for high-quality music reproduction. For that, there’s Audiophile Linux.
Let’s install it and see what’s what.

Installation

As I mentioned, Audiophile is based on Arch Linux. Unlike some distributions based on Arch, however, Audiophile Linux doesn’t include a pretty, user-friendly GUI installer. Instead, what you must do is download the ISO image, burn the ISO to either a USB or CD/DVD, and boot from the device. Once booted, you’ll find yourself at a command prompt. Once at that prompt, here are the steps to install.

Create the necessary partition by issuing the command:

fdisk /dev/sdX

where X is the drive letter (discovered with the command fdisk -l).

Type n to create a new partition and then type p to make the partition a primary. When that completes, type w to write the changes. Format the new partition with the command:

mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1

Mount the new partition with the command:

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

Finish up the partition with the following commands;

time cp -ax / /mnt arch-chroot /mnt /bin/bash cd /etc/apl-files

Install the base packages (and create a username/password with the command:

./runme.sh

Take care of the GRUB boot loader with the following commands:

grub-install --target=i386-pc /dev/sda grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Give the root user a password with the following command:

passwd root

Set your timezone like so (substituting your location):

ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Kentucky/Louisville /etc/localtime

Set the hardware clock and autologin with the following commands:

hwclock --systohc --utc ./autologin.sh

Reboot the system with the command:

reboot

It Gets a Bit Dicey Now

There’s a problem to be found, which is related to the pacman update process. If you immediately go to update the system with the pacman -Suy command, you’ll find Xorg broken and seemingly no way to repair it. This problem has been around for some time now and has yet to be fixed. How do you get around it? First, you need to remove the libxfont package with the command:

sudo pacman -Rc libxfont

That’s not all. There’s another package that must be removed (Cantata – the Audiophile music player). Issue the command:

sudo pacman -Rc ffmpeg2.8

Now, you can update Audiophile Linux with the command:

sudo pacman -Suy

Once updated, you can finish up the installation with the command:

sudo pacman -S terminus-font pacman -S xorg-server pacman -S firefox

You can then reinstall Cantata with the command:

sudo pacman -S cantata

When this completes, reboot and log into your desktop.

The Desktop

As mentioned earlier, Audiophile Linux opts for lightweight desktop environment, Fluxbox. Although I understand why the developers would want to make use of this desktop (because it’s incredibly lightweight), many users might not enjoy working with such a minimal desktop. And since most audiophiles are going to be working with hardware that can tolerate a more feature-rich desktop. If you want to opt to go that route, you can install a desktop like GNOME with the command:

sudo pacman -S gnome

However, if you want to be a purist (and get the absolute most out of this hardware/software combination), stick with the default Fluxbox. I recommend sticking with Fluxbox especially since you’ll only be using Audiophile Linux for one purpose (listening to music).

Fluxbox uses an incredibly basic interface. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and a menu will appear (Figure 1).

From that menu, you won’t find a lot of applications (Figure 2).

That’s okay, because you only need one—Cantata (listed in the menu as Play music). However, after the installation, Cantata won’t run. Why? Because of a QT5 problem. To get around this, you need to issue the following commands:

sudo pacman -S binutils sudo strip --remove-section=.note.ABI-tag /usr/lib64/libQt5Core.so.5

Once you’ve taken care of the above, Cantata will run and you can start playing all of the music you’ve added to the library (Figure 3).

Worth The Hassle?

I have to confess, at first I was fairly certain Audiophile Linux wouldn’t be worth the trouble of getting it up and running … for the singular purpose of listening to music. However, once those tunes started spilling from my speakers, I was sold.

Although the average listener might not notice the difference with this distribution, audiophiles will. The clarity and playback of digital music on Audiophile Linux far exceeded that on both Elementary OS and Ubuntu Linux. So if that appeals to you, I highly recommend giving Audiophile Linux a spin.

Learn more about Linux through the free “Introduction to Linux” course from The Linux Foundation and edX.

Get Zelda: Link’s Awakening For Just £2.69 Before The Switch Remake Arrives (Europe)

Zelda

The latest batch of My Nintendo game discounts for Europe has now gone live, and this time Nintendo has been a little bit sneaky. Well, pretty clever actually.

We’re sure you already know this by now, but it was just revealed that a gorgeous looking remake of the Game Boy classic The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening will be coming to Nintendo Switch this year. If you’re looking to play the original before the big release, this will absolutely be your best chance to do it.

The DX version of the game, available on 3DS Virtual Console, can now be snapped up at 50% off thanks to My Nintendo (that means it’s just £2.69 / €2.99). As always, you can take advantage of these discounts by simply using the required Gold or Platinum My Nintendo Points listed below.

Some pretty decent offers here this time around. Note that the Zelda discount only costs 30 of your Gold Points, too.

Will you be taking advantage of any of these offers? Remember, your Gold Points can also be spent on Switch software directly from the eShop or a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, too.

Here’s A Look At The Fire Emblem: Three Houses Limited Edition

Fe

One of the larger segments of this week’s Nintendo Direct was given to Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which is now planned to arrive on the system this summer following a minor delay. The Direct promised that a limited edition would make its way to retail but didn’t show it off, so here’s a look at how the bundle will likely appear when it arrives.

The European version will come with a physical copy of the game (that box won’t be final design, don’t worry), a steelbook, a fancy outer casing, an artbook, a pin badge set featuring the three houses, and some songs from the game’s soundtrack on a USB stick. We’re not sure why they’ve opted for a USB over a nice little CD, but there you are.

In North America, you can expect a similar bundle, albeit with a CD rather than a USB stick. The pin badges have also been replaced with a calendar.

Fena

This bundle will hit stores on the same day that the game launches, 26th July. The Direct segment revealed information about the game’s three house setup, showing off some lovely portions of gameplay along the way.

Will you be snapping up the limited edition bundle? Let us know if you’re looking forward to this one in the comments.

The Zoids Are Back In Town On Switch This Month, In Japan At Least

If you remember the Zoids craze from the ‘80s, then you might be interested to learn that a new game is releasing in Japan at the end of the month: Zoids Wild: King of Blast.

If your memories don’t stretch back that far, Zoids are large mecha-animals which began life as a toy line and then grew into a franchise that includes five anime TV series and a bunch of games, too. While the western fortunes of the series have taken a nosedive since the ’80s, the robots managed to maintain their popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun and have appeared on several past Nintendo platforms.

Announced a little under a year ago, this new game from Takara Tomy is based on the latest anime and appears to be an attractive 3D fighter with plenty of electrifying over-the-top moves and colour. It includes some pretty devastating finishers known as ‘Final Blasts’, a Zoid Viewer enabling you to examine your models in exquisite detail and a story mode to underscore the mecha-mayhem. There’s competitive two-player and a legion of Zoids to choose from (we like the look of Death Rex).

The new trailer above goes into substantial detail over its seven minutes. While this is unlikely to get a localisation, importing is an option for any die-hard Zoids fan in the west, as long as you’re willing to miss out on the story (or, of course, you speak Japanese).

Have you played any games in the illustrious Zoids series? Like the look of this one? Get your Zoid on in the comments.

Layton’s Mystery Journey Coming To Switch In The West Soon

After releasing on Switch in Japan last year, it seems a western launch of Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle And The Millionaires’ Conspiracy DX isn’t too far off.

Twitter user @lite_agent noticed that the Australian Board of Classification has given it an age rating, following a similar occurrence in Germany.

It’s been a long time coming – Japanese Switch owners have been able to enjoy this Deluxe Edition of the Level-5’s 3DS original since August last year, and it even has an accompanying anime. Ah, to live in Japan.

Hopefully, these ratings mean we’ll be able to dive into some detective puzzling ourselves before too long. It’s been a while and we’re big fans of the Layton series.

Are you a Layton aficionado? Eager to try this one out on your Switch? Share your thoughts in the usual place.