Wired: Open Source Everywhere
Oct 16, 2003, 04:00 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Thomas Goetz)
How to Help Your Business Become an AI Early Adopter
[ Thanks to tld3227 for this link. ]
"Since cholera kills by driving fluids from the body, the
treatment is to pump liquid back in, as fast as possible. The one
proven technology, an intravenous saline drip, has a few drawbacks.
An easy-to-use, computer-regulated IV can cost $2,000--far too
expensive to deploy against a large outbreak. Other systems cost as
little as 35 cents, but they're too complicated for unskilled
caregivers. The result: People die unnecessarily.
"'It's a health problem, but it's also a design problem,' says
Timothy Prestero, a onetime Peace Corps volunteer who cofounded a
group called Design That Matters. Leading a team of MIT engineering
students, Prestero, who has master's degrees in mechanical and
oceanographic engineering, focused on the drip chamber and pinch
valve controlling the saline flow rate.
"But the team needed more medical expertise. So Prestero turned
to ThinkCycle, a Web-based industrial-design project that brings
together engineers, designers, academics, and professionals from a
variety of disciplines. Soon, some physicians and engineers were
pitching in--vetting designs and recommending new paths. Within a
few months, Prestero's team had turned the suggestions into an
ingenious solution. Taking inspiration from a tool called a
rotameter used in chemical engineering, the group crafted a new IV
system that's intuitive to use, even for untrained workers.
Remarkably, it costs about $1.25 to manufacture, making it ideal
for mass deployment. Prestero is now in talks with a medical
devices company; the new IV could be in the field a year from