PORTL’s Transparent Displays Being Used By University’s Health Educators To Demonstrate Disorders

August 3, 2021 by Dave Haynes

Much of the attention around the use of transparent displays to show people at life-size dimension, in remote locations, has been focused on sectors like events and entertainment, but a Florida university has identified a very different use-case: healthcare education.

The University of Central Florida is using LA-based PORTL’s tricked-out transparent flat panels to show health professions students how different disorders affect people, without having to ask them to come into classrooms or lecture theaters.

PORTL’s product, and ones like it, are transparent flat panel displays in specially-lit stalls that you might liken to a chiller fridge or shower stall. PORTL, in particular, does a great job with the lighting and the way it does chroma key (green screen stuff) to capture visuals and relay them to the transparent screen. The things are routinely called holograms and 3D, but they’re neither.

PORTL’s founder concedes his product doesn’t meet the purist technical definition of holograms, but has kind of surrendered to the need to have some sort of familiar way to describe his product.

A local news station in LA describes the idea and execution:

“My students need to understand the perceptual, so how these disorders sound, how it impacts individual speech production as well as their language production,” said Dr. Lauren Bislick Wilson, an assistant professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at UCF.

A new piece of equipment called PORTL is taking that immersive education one step further. With hologram technology, UCF students are getting a chance to learn about patient health care directly from the patient without ever stepping foot inside the classroom. 

Video of report here …

Bislick Wilson says she was skeptical at first but was amazed at how well patients could demonstrate tremors in the arm through the hologram, even showing how it looks when someone with Parkinson’s walks.?

“But with the portal, you really feel like that person is there,” Bislick Wilson said. “And that makes a huge difference.”

Dr. Bari Hoffman, associate dean for clinical affairs in UCF’s College of Health Professions and Sciences, said they will be able to create a library of patient experiences for students to learn from, allowing them to keep unwell or immunocompromised patients safe while exposing students to far more conditions. 

“Especially with the rare conditions, if they’re exposed to even more of those, they’re more likely to identify those, help an individual, get to diagnosis quicker and treatment and improvement quality of life much faster,” Hoffman said. 

I’ve never seen PORTL in person (like most people, business travel remains an abstract concept for me), but the the company has consistently done a good job of showing what it does, as well as pushed the possibilities on transparent displays.

“I think it’s really going to amplify their learning and their connection to the content,” Hoffman said. “Already, in some of the pilot work that we’ve done with students and faculty, just seeing their faces light up, their interest in the content, just blowing their mind that this is what they’re going to be, the tools they’re going to be learning from in college.”

I saw a post recently that said the PORTL displays were OLEDs, but I am pretty darn certain these are LCD because of the size of the displays, and the brightness levels. Plus that’s what the founder told me.

OLEDs are gorgeous, but they are not overly bright and I don’t THINK could make the visuals pop like this.

If you are curious, this is a podcast I did with PORTL:

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