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Bedside terminal has 1.8-inch screen, five megapixel webcam

Nov 14, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Arbor announced a bedside PC for hospital patients that includes an 18.5-inch touchscreen, a five megapixel webcam, and a VoIP handset. The M1857 has a 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, a 160GB hard disk drive, plus smart card, RFID, and barcode scanning capabilities, according to the company.

The first time we encountered a "infotainment terminal" for hospital patients was in May 2009, when Advantech's PIT-1702 was released. As the company said at the time, such devices let patients browse the internet, watch TV, and perhaps make VoIP phone calls via an attached handset.

The concept appears to have caught on, and some of the very latest beside terminals — the Advantech PIT-1503W and Poindus VariCura — even include iPad-like capacitive touchscreens. Arbor's new M1857 (pictured) is not one of them, retaining resistive touch, though its screen measures an ample 18.5 inches diagonally, (with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, a 250-nit brightness rating, and a 1000:1 contrast ratio).

The M1857 also includes a standard VoIP handset and a unusually high-resolution webcam (5.0 megapixels, with privacy cover), which should provide a patient's relatives with a good view of how (hopefully) well he or she is looking. Like most of the other hospital infotainment terminals we've covered, it's further equipped with an RFID reader, two smart card readers, and a 1D barcode scanner, according to Arbor.

Other communications capabilities on the M1857 are dual gigabit Ethernet connectors (one bottom-accessible, one rear-accessible), 802.11b/g/n wireless networking, and Bluetooth. A Mini PCI Express slot supports what Arbor refers to as an optional AV capture module, suggesting that this device doesn't include an internal TV tuner.

According to Arbor, the M1857 has two internal speakers as well as microphone input and speaker output jacks. Other hardware features cited by the company include eight function keys on the IP65-compliant front bezel, three USB 2.0 ports, and an RS232 port.

Arbor says the M1857 runs Windows, Fedora, or Ubuntu on an Intel Atom N270 processor, with 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard disk drive. The included 945GSE northbridge isn't capable of HD video decoding, but an MPEG decoder card supporting H.264/AVC, MPEG-2, VC-1, WMV9, MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, and AVS is also on board, the company's data sheet suggests. (The decoder may be one of Broadcom's BCM78001x devices, designed specifically to work with the N270, but Arbor didn't say.)

The M1857 weighs 12 pounds, uses 35 Watts, and operates in temperatures ranging from 32 to 104 deg. F. (Hopefully, though, the hospital room where it's installed won't be approaching either of those extremes!)

Specifications listed by Arbor for the M1857 include the following:

  • Processor — Intel Atom N270 clocked at 1.6GHz
  • Chipset — Intel 945GSE and ICH7M
  • Memory — 2GB of DDR2 RAM (pre-installed)
  • Storage — 160GB, 2.5-inch hard disk drive
  • Expansion — Mini PCI slot (intended for AV capture module)
  • Display — 18.5-inch resistive touchscreen with 1366 x 768 resolution, 250-nit brightness rating, 1000:1 contrast ratio
  • Keys — 8 x function keys, plus handset
  • Camera — 5 megapixel webcam
  • Networking:
    • LAN — 2 x 10/100 Ethernet
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g/n
    • PAN — Bluetooth
  • Other wireless capabilities:
    • RFID reader
    • barcode reader
    • 2 x smart card reader
  • Other I/O:
    • 3 x USB
    • 1 x serial
    • audio — microphone in and line out
  • Power requirements — 100 to 240 VAC; 35 Watts
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 104 deg. F (0 to 40 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 22 x 13.3 x 2.6 inches
  • Weight — 12.1 pounds (5.5kg)

Further information

Pricing was not detailed, but the M1857 appears to be available now. More information can be found on Arbor's M1857 product page.

Jonathan Angel can be followed at

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