serial ports blog

Serial Ports, A Dated Yet Necessary Feature

Serial Ports, An Included Legacy Component

With as much new technology that Tangent packs into their all-in-one medical computers, one does not expect to see any sort of legacy components included. However, if you look at the I/O ports on the back of the Tangent M24T medical computer, something surprising is present: three RS-232 DB9 ports. For those of us that are not polished up on our knowledge of every serial port that ever existed, the RS-232 is a standard computer serial port for communication that dates back about five decades, and was used for a wide array of purposes like connections to modems, printers, mice, data storage, circuit protection, connectors, optoelectronics, passive components, uninterrupted power supplies, and more. This is all fine and dandy, but the questions still stand. What are serial ports from the 60s doing on new computers? What does this have to do with medical standards? Why don’t they just solely use USB?

Well, simply put, medical devices have varying ways of providing data to computers. Most still have uncomplicated serial ports, while newer ones have HDMI, ethernet or USB ports, depending on the protocol being used for communication.  A true medical computer needs to be able to fit the requirements of each medical device it’s connected to, as well as the clinical workflows of the medical facility and that particular care center’s IT environment. And the old RS-232 interface is an attractive alternative to the more temperamental digital interfaces for many medical device manufacturers because it’s robust, consistent, and easy to use. The adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” applies heavily for the serial port standards in a great number of devices. Tangent’s dedication to providing convenience and value to medical care providers led to the inclusion of the trusted legacy ports. The M24T medical computer is able to connect to a kidney monitoring device, an ultrasound device, and a patient monitor using the serial ports, and still have 6 USB ports and an HDMI port free for other uses.

All the newer, fancy bells and whistles are bundled up into this incredible medical computer as well. It features a 24 inch PCAP touchscreen monitor, an Intel 6th generation Core i Series, fast memory up to 32GB, and high-performance NVMe storage. The M24T medical computer also has fanless cooling by way of heat pipes, it’s own internal speakers, and optional webcam and RFID. The medical computer has an uninterrupted power supply battery for up to 30 minutes of operation during a power loss event, and of course, is factory treated with an antimicrobial coating to ward off the spread of infection from bacteria or mold.

It’s easy to dismiss older technology as useless and disposable, but in the medical world, efficiency and consistency in the face of emergency situations often wins out over the new and questionable. Yes, strides are being made to upgrade older hospital systems to modern standards, but change in these sorts of environments can be slow. With so many devices still relying on legacy ports, it makes sense that medical computers still cater to their needs.

Is RFID Safe?

Is RFID Safe?

RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology has been found to generate considerable cost savings and increase efficiency in a variety of sectors like supply chain management, asset management, and information technology departments due to its ability to capture data without any human intervention.

 

Utilizing RFID in healthcare has been explored with great interest in recent years not only because of a legislative mandate to use new technology in healthcare, but for its potential to benefit patient safety, provide accurate patient and asset tracking, and enhance efficiencies in patient care. For example, RFID systems can identify medical staff, patients, medications, and blood sampling data all in real time.

 

The adoption of RFID in hospitals has been somewhat slow due to questions about data security, privacy, and concerns about radio frequency interruption due to older infrastructure in many facilities. However, apprehension about these risks largely stem from unfamiliarity with the technology and poor implementation strategies. These issues can be mitigated with in-depth analyses of risk/benefits, return on investment analyses, extensive testing prior to implementation, educating staff on the technology and its benefits, and taking steps for appropriate security measures to ensure patient privacy.

 

Tangent is well aware of the national mandate from the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Clinical Health) Act of 2015 to implement new health information technology and improve healthcare delivery. With that, they aim to stay at the forefront of technology that can be integrated into their medical devices.

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An excellent example is the Tangent Medix T13  medical tablet PC. This tablet is packed with a treasure trove of useful features for only being 13” inches. The enclosure is factory treated with a medical grade antimicrobial coating and is rated at an IP54 level of protection against contaminant or liquid ingress into the unit. The touchscreen is a PCAP multitouch, the computer’s Ultramobile processor can be an Intel Core i7, i5, or Celeron, and the unit has TPM 2.0 support.

 

The Medix medical tablet has a full-slot smart card reader and SD card readers. This allows for clocking in, secure logging in to the system, accepting payments and a great number of other uses with a card. An optional barcode scanner can allow for scanning of medications or patient wristbands. A  desktop charging cradle, wall and vehicle mounting accessories, and a handheld wrist strap for the T13 medical tablet provide numerous ways to interact with the device.

And keeping with the topic of this blog entry, an optional RFID reader in the T13 medical tablet allows hospital staff to identify, track, and retrieve data on most anything in the facility.

 

As hospitals and clinics are urged to adopt newer technologies by governing bodies, it’s important for providers to stay ahead of the curve on offering these features in their computing devices. Tangent’s mission is to provide medical care providers all the tools they need to give the best care and to stay up-to-date  with regulations and recommendations. When implemented correctly, technologies like RFID can create highly visible benefits to both patients and care facilities.

 

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Top Features of Tangent Rugged Mini PCs

Top Features of Tangent Rugged Mini PCs

With our line of over 10 Rugged Mini PCs and adjustable specifications, it’s no wonder why Tangent is the go-to provider for Rugged Mini PCs.

At Tangent, you can find the right Mini PC for your needs.

Below are some key features you can find in our lineup of Rugged Mini PCs.

Industrial Grade,
Medical Grade UL60601-1

Rugged Mini S meets rugged design specifications and medical grade, UL60601-1, requirements. Ideal for Healthcare or Industrial applications.

Multiple USB Ports

RUGGED E1

4 USB Ports

TANGENT E1

RUGGED E2

8 USB PORTS

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Extreme Temperature Range Operation

RUGGED E2

Environmental
Operating temp: -13° – 158°F (-25° – 70° C)
Storage temp: -22° – 185°F (-30° – 85° C)

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RUGGED 0

Temp Range
Operating temp: -4° – 140°F (-20° – 60° C)
Storage temp: -40° – 185°F (-40° – 85° C)

Rugged 0

Swappable Drive

RUGGED E3

Use the two removable drive bays to meet offsite
data retention and storage needs.

RUGGED E3

Wide Input Voltage Range

RUGGED E2

9 to 48V DC Power input range allows for integration into various environments.

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Multiple Connectivity

RUGGED MINI S

Plenty of ports to enhance use and functionality.

Input/Output Ports
2x USB 2.0
2x USB 3.0
6x Serial (Full PCIe model: 4x Serial)
1x DVI
2x RJ45
Audio Ports

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IP67 / IP69K

RUGGED O

Protected against ingress of dust and high-temperature, high-pressure water.

Rugged 0

 

For the full list of Tangent Rugged PCs, side-by-side comparisons of features and performance visit us at: https://www.tangent.com/industrial-computer/rugged-mini-pc/ or click HERE.

 

 

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RUGGED MINI PCs: A BUYER’S GUIDE

SELECTING THE RIGHT TANGENT RUGGED MINI PC: A BUYER’S GUIDE

Selecting the right Rugged Mini PC is an important task, but it should not be a daunting one.

With our wide variety of expertly crafted Tangent Rugged Mini PCs, choosing the right model to suit your needs could not be easier. We have carefully designed our website so that key product specifications are easy to identify (to view our Rugged Mini PC product line visit: https://www.tangent.com/industrial-computer/rugged-mini-pc/ or press HERE).

Tangent offers Industrial, Commercial and Rugged PCs. So let’s first make sure you have come to the right buyer’s guide by defining the Rugged Mini PC line.

Rugged Mini PCs are built strong to withstand harsh conditions and rough handling. A Rugged Mini PC is substantially less susceptible to damage than non-rugged devices. Tangent rugged devices meet military standard specifications for dust, shock, vibration, rain, humidity, solar radiation, altitude, and temperature extremes.

RUGGED MINI PC BUYER’S CRITERIA:

OPERATING TEMPERATURES: One highly desirable feature of Rugged Mini PCs is their ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Tangent Rugged Mini PCs are functional in temperatures spanning from -40° to 158°F (-40° to 70° C). Identify the temperature conditions pertaining to your needs to find the appropriate model.

SIZE: As the name implies, all our Rugged Mini PCs are compact and small. Nevertheless, depending on the application, size can absolutely be the single most determining criteria in your selection process. For your smallest computer needs, turn to the Qbit 2 with the following dimension and weight specifications: 4.57″ W x 4.33″ D x 1.93″ 1.53 lbs.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS: Waterproof anyone? For a waterproof Rugged Mini PC, the Rugged O meets your needs. With its fully waterproof stainless steel enclosure and wide temperature operation range, it’s the go-to model for waterproof functionality.

MOBILE APPLICATIONS: Tangent offers two In-Vehicle Mini Rugged PCs: the FX and Mini Tank. Both Rugged Mini PCs are designed specifically for use in the most demanding mobile applications.

INDUSTRY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS: Tangent’s Rugged Mini S meets healthcare industry standards with its 60601-1 Medical Certification.

TECHNICAL COMPONENTS: Tangent Mini Rugged PCs all come with powerful state-of-the-art Intel Processors and any one of our models ensures performance reliability that is unsurpassed. Nevertheless, variable technical features can help select the best model for your needs. RS232 OR USB PORTS: Our Rugged Mini C, for example, has up to five RS232 and up to eight USB Ports. VOLTAGE INPUT: Our Rugged E1 has a voltage input capacity of 48V DC, while our Rugged Mini VA is designed with an input of 25V DC. Gbit LANs: The Rugged Mini i has one Gbit LAN while the Rugged Mini C can be configured with up to six Gbit LANs.

For more information about our products or for further assistance in selecting the right computer, please contact: 650-342-9388.

At Tangent, we are committed to providing you with the highest quality products and unparalleled service and support.