Apple TV for the dental office – Part one, use as an easy wireless second surgery monitor

If you are gadget driven dentist, please share this!

Sometimes a dental gadget purchase deserves shouting about so I have decided to write a series of articles extolling the usefulness of the AppleTV, one of the best sub £100 gadgets I have ever purchased for my dental surgery.

About 6 months ago I mounted a large flat screen on the opposite wall in my surgery, facing the patient. It was an idea I totally stole from a good friend, Coventry Perio and Implant guru Mr Matthew Perkins. The idea was to take the video signal out of my surgical microscope and have it displayed on the wall, in high definition. Works a treat and I will blog about that more specialised setup soon.

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However, I had a spare Apple TV at home so I plugged it in in my office, wondering what it could do for me in my workplace. It’s been so revolutionary that I have been moved to write a series of articles about it.

1 – Airparrot (http://www.airsquirrels.com/airparrot/)

Users of Apple TV and iPhones and iPads may well be familiar with Airplay, which allows the user to display the iOS screen remotely onto a television. This means that videos, pictures and music can be wirelessly transmitted from iOS gadget to the telly with ease and speed. With modern versions of iOS, a user can even mirror the whole small screen onto the big screen.

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Airparrot is a $9.99 download that allows you to mirror your home or work computer onto another screen. There is a version for PC and Mac and is really easy to install.

What this means for me as a dentist is that at a touch of a button, I can display the patients X-rays or digital images that are on my surgery computer onto the big screen in front of the patient, without the need to run wires everywhere. This is remarkable! Operating over the wifi network, the speed is phenomenal, the mouse moves smoothly and the quality is crystal clear.

Of course if I am mirroring my PC monitor (and audio by the way), I can display anything I want, CAESY patient education stuff, slides, videos etc.

What this means as well is that I have a low cost solution to a second monitor in the surgery. Retrofitting a second screen in a fully working surgery is extremely difficult. Mounting the screen on the chair with the right bracket, getting power to it from the chair, running cables under the floor from the desk. Trust me, I’ve tried it and I wished this had been invented 10 years ago.

With the AppleTV setup, simply mount the flat screen on a suitable wall, plug in the AppleTV with a simple HDMI cable, connect it to your wireless (or wired) network, install the Airparrot software on your PC or Mac (as long as your computer is either wired in to same network via Ethernet like mine, or wifi enabled) and then when you want the patient to see your screen, a simple right click on the icon in the system tray and Voila! Up it comes on the big screen.

I think that’s worth the cost of the AppleTV alone, but we’ve bearly scratched the surface. I need to write up the use of ICloud, IMovie theatre, Radio, Airplay, displaying intraoral images from Memory cards and Flickr. So much more to be done – will keep you posted.

With best techie wishes

Rob

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