Monday, February 7, 2011

Neonatal incubator made of car parts

Stuff breaks.

Replace, send for repairs, or try to fix it yourself? In the developing world, choice 3 is often the only option. Unfortunately, even if you’re game to try fixing a broken machine, the parts are often all but unobtainable. And even if the parts are obtainable, modern technology has made many machines opaque.

So here's a brilliant idea: medical machinery that can be repaired anyplace where there are car parts and mechanics. The NeoNurture was invented by Design That Matters, an American NGO that creates products and services to help the poor in developing countries. This nifty incubator is made of auto components and should be transparent to anyone who understands cars. That means it can be used in remote areas (since presumably there are cars just about everywhere these days), and when it breaks or needs to be altered, it doesn't become a useless piece of junk. God knows we're glad to have our ultrasound machine and X-ray out here in our rural Indonesian clinic, but we haven't any special parts or expertise to fix them once they fail. What do we do with them then? Burn them? To borrow a quote from the New York Times, which blogged about the incubator last November:

“Every rural clinic in the developing world has a shack full of broken donated medical equipment,” said Timothy Prestero, chief executive of the Cambridge, Mass., design consultancy. 

You get it, DTM! Thank you. Can't wait to see these in production.

Check out the other ideas this firm is developing: a phototherapy device, a microfilm projector, and an IV flow controller. Their past projects sound great, too. I'd like to know more about which ones have been most successful and which ones remained at the prototype stage.

No comments:

Post a Comment