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Every once in a while, a piece of technology turns out to be more flexible and more helpful than even its creators thought. In that spirit, the fight against Parkinson's Disease just got a new Silicon Valley ally, almost by accident.
Marvell makes a device the size of a power plug called the Plug Computer. It's not made for you to update your Facebook account, but it will track energy usage, let you know if your home is using more power than necessary and other useful information along those lines. It's made with the environment in mind and Marvell has high hopes the devices will catch on -- high enough to already talk up what it calls the "Plug Computing" category.
Now, Marvell's Plug has a new group of admirers.
Doctors from the University of Rochester are coming to the company's Silicon Valley Headquarters to show off how the Plugs can help fight Parkinson's. The doctors, funded in part by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, say the Plug can help monitor patients' health information, keep track of health records and get information to help doctors from across the Internet. Because the little computer is such an energy sipper, it can always be on -- another way it's helping doctors when it comes to following their patients.
Made for consumers, the Plug could soon find itself in hospitals, too. Marvell may be onto something here, keeping the Silicon Valley tradition of big things in small packages moving forward.
Scott is always looking for cool technology. You can follow him on Twitter, @scottbudman