Open Source Festival 2013 Reflection

Recently, I had the chance to attend the Open Source Festival 2013 at UAlbany. I went to a couple of sessions and here is what I found interesting:

Session 1: Teaching Brain Anatomy Using Open Source Tools

brain anatomy 3dI found this very interesting because if you think about it, years ago this kind of thing was only done in the movies (3D printing, etc.). The ability to do 3D printing, etc. is going to very effective for teaching the next generation of medical professionals.

Brain anatomy is important because a lot of complaints presented to medical personnel throughout a humans life is based on things they percept and think. So, you have to understand it in order to be able to diagnose issues.

ITK-SNAP is an important application and most powerful/adaptable piece of software for this type of use. ParaView Visualization Toolkit is another. These allow students to really use the models of brains to understand what they are learning which makes them, eventually, better health professionals and surgeons.

Session 2: Open Source and Healthcare IT

These folks empower health organizations to achieve technical results that enhance their ability to provide service to it’s customers.

VistA, software that DSS uses, is open source and isn’t proprietary. It’s allowed companies like VA to increase it’s ability to provide healthcare to veterans, etc. This allows the VA to have the best medical care anywhere. This is important because veterans deserve the best health care.

Session 3: Linux Defenders

This group deals with patents but uses user interaction to help vet patents. By using user resources, they can use human power to achieve positive results. They were able to show the patent office that crowd sourcing was useful in addressing the challenges that faced patents. Over 40 universities participated in the Peer2Patent project. However, Crowd Sourcing doesn’t resolve a lot of issues. There are still patents out there that have gone through when they shouldn’t have. Microsoft had a couple, and some were even reversed after the groups similar to this got up in arms about it.linux_fighting_penguin

I find this interesting because lately there has been a war between Apple and companies like Samsung in the phone arena. They have accused each other of stealing things like the ‘virtual page turn’ (for e-books), rounded edges on smart phones, etc. I believe the USPTO needs a lot of work in order to be more efficient as right now some companies have the silliest patents which prevent other companies from innovating and creating better products as a whole for society.

by Ilya Kolodiychik

Image 1 by Digital Artist {link to}

Image 2 by Alex {link to}


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