Barcode scanners are being used for all kinds of purposes within hospital settings, from keeping track of patients and their individual records, to prescribing and tracking lab tests and medication to preventing personnel error. Still, while great leaps in scanner technology and capabilities have been made, aside from the use of more durable and anti-microbial materials, little has changed about the scanners' physical form. At best, scanners are utilitarian yet ergonomically-friendly -- at worst, they can be intimidating for both the patient and the practitioner.
In pediatric hospital wards, where small patients are already overwhelmed by illness, fear of the medical procedures and a loss of familiar surroundings, this failure of form is particularly problematic. With every patient interaction an opportunity to improve comfort-level and promote patient health, making friendlier LOOKING technology is, in my opinion, a vitally important step.
With this in mind, I came up with the concept of the Scanana. A banana-shaped, wireless 2D scanner, the Scanana builds upon the research supporting clowning and other therapeutic uses of humor in clinical settings. As medical practitioners walk around with bananas in their pockets, they interact not just with the patients' records and lab tests, but also with the patients themselves in a whole new way. These interactions are fun and funny, not simply utilitarian, changing the nature of both the doctor-patient interaction and of the hospital environment itself.