Monday, April 09, 2012

Two kinds of Hospital Hacking

First the "people" kind: Make has an excellent article up about creating hackable medical devices:

Instead of trying to change the global supply chain for medical devices, we have learned to embrace the existing one for toys. Go to your toy store, and you’ll see the same $2 toy gun that a Nicaraguan nurse spotted and hacked into an alarm for an IV fluid bag, after harvesting the electronics and adding a simple trip mechanism. Lego blocks have very precise tolerances for creating modular microfluidic components. On the way out, toward the bicycle section, pick up a bike foot pump so you can power your nebulizer for $5 instead of paying $75 for the electric compressor sold in medical supply catalogs. Bonus feature: when there’s an asthma emergency in the middle of nowhere, you won’t need electricity to save the patient.

Read the entire article here. Powerful stuff, and an excellent reminder that even in a field like medical hardware entrepreneurial (aka hacker) efforts can succeed.

Second, the "computer" kind: In the comments from the Make article above was a link to this one:

Luckily: An 11 year old girl decided to open a laptop hospital [to fix a common issue with the local laptops]. Unfortunately the boys really missed out here, because in this part of Nigeria “everyone knows” only girls work at hospitals, she eventually recruited girls as young as 5 to help out in the hospital. This group of girls armed with screwdrivers starting taking apart the laptops and reseating the cables. Sometimes they’d change out a screen, or a speaker. They learned about the hardware of their laptops. They got to see what was inside. They got better and better at fixing things by learning as they went.

Again, an awesome example of the power of entrepreneurship. Read the entire post here.

See, there's no industry or topic off limits to the clever hacker.

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