Intel and UC Berkeley devise remote diagnostics: In the southern India state of Tamil Nadu, a central eye hospital can now examine patients through outposts up to dozens of miles away using Wi-Fi to transmit image data from cameras. Thousands of patients were served in this trial, and the university reports that the project will be expanded to five hospitals, 50 linked clinics, and an expected 500,000 patients a year.
Nurses trained in eye care screen patients at smaller village clinics. A doctor at the Aravind Eye Hospital then spends five minutes examining the patient's eyes through a Web camera connection. The patient is given a hospital appointment if the doctor needs a closer examination or needs to schedule surgery.
The cost cited is a little inexplicable: $800 for two routers with antennas. I expect this might include the costs of ruggedizing the cases and the like, but it's not clear. There are no viable broadband providers in the area, and using commodity gear allowed them to create a 6 Mbps link over distances of up to 40 miles using their own software.
Of course, there are greater implications for telemedicine, because once you have local clinics with high bandwidth that can then hop on a larger national network, you can have doctors all over the country (or world) contribute hours towards diagnostic work, reducing the time that patients have to spend in travel or untreated due to cost.