New Tech: Eye-Fi

Jim Johnson   October 27, 2012   Comments Off on New Tech: Eye-Fi

This is no big deal but it is so cool that I just have to share it.

We’ve been taking digital pictures of pets for our records for several years now. The process for getting them from the camera to our records has always been a little clunky, though: after the photo is taken, the tech has to bring the camera to the front office, plug it into a certain computer, and wait for the images to transfer. They often have other things on their mind when they are in the exam room though (as they should), so often we found that pictures were taken of pets but were never attached to the record.

The solution for this is a wonderful little device called an Eye-Fi card. This is simply an SD memory card with a wireless system and special software. It works like this: you configure the card to connect to your network, and then any time the card comes within range of the network, it transmits the pictures to the network. Simple!

Unfortunately, configuring this to work with our system took a long time. The first card we purchased was apparently bad, and then there were firewall and wireless access point problems to solve. The error messages are unfortunately childish (“Boo-boo”, “Uh-oh”, etc.) and contain little useful information – but their tech support people are knowledgeable and helpful.

Once I fixed the final problem, however, I got a little childish myself, whooping with glee. The pictures show up on our front office computer within seconds, and the system even displays a popup thumbnail so the receptionists know the picture is ready. It is really nice; and I suspect that it would be easier to set up in a less complex network than ours.