Archive for August, 2011

August 20, 2011

Nicaragua Day 3

by iihlab
IIH Researchers with Hospital Bertha Calderon medtech team

We’re on the starting leg of a 10 day trip to our H-Lab site in Nicaragua. We are following up progress of the MEDIKit deployments back in January, tracking down local medical hackers, and continuing the Solarclave, PortaVida, and asthma projects. In addition to Anna Young, Jackie Linnes (first from right) and Jose Gomez-Marquez (first from left) from IIH, Victoria Gerrard (second from right), an IIH affiliate through the Singapore University for Technology and Design.

We are excited because we have a few new projects that are not exactly done, but that’s the point of going to the field: to co-design with our field partners, in addition to need finding.

The Spectrophotometer

One of the most common instruments that you can find in a lab in the developing world is the spectrophotometer, a simple device that measures the change in color of a reaction as it goes through a blood sample (or other substances). They are usually over-engineered for what they are actually used for in the developing world. However, we’ve found that they are little the lab workhorses. A challenge for the lab is create a cheap one. First, we started by doing an tear down of a typical model found in Nicaragua:

MEDIKit Lab Spectrophotometer Dissection from Timothy Kotin on Vimeo.

We quickly concluded that was not a complicated device, or at least it didn’t need to be. So we’re making our own.

Paulino Vacas Jacques is an amazing engineer at IIH who is our optics wizard. In a few weeks after coming into the lab he made a sub $100 version of a spectrophotometer. We had to reassemble some parts locally, but thanks to Skype, we’re making it happen.

More on that on the next post! In the meantime, we’re off to Ocotal, Nicaragua.

August 8, 2011

Professor Catherine Klapperich talk to NPR on Lab-On-Chip Technologies

by iihlab

IIH’s own Catherine Klapperich, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, provides an expert perspective to NPR’s Joe Palca on the state of Lab-on-Chip technologies.

More at NPR

August 3, 2011

Global Health Technology 2.0: Leaping Over the Gap with Collaborative Invention

by iihlab

by Aya Caldwell, Anna Young, Jose Gomez-Marquez, and Kristian R. Olson

As published in IEEE Pulse August 2011


As global health development assistance has tripled in the last decade, policymakers are recognizing the need for accessible health technologies aimed at low and middle income countries (LMICs) [1, 2].  Developing these technologies is not simple [2]. It requires a delicate departure from top-down, sophisticated engineering towards user-enabled designs that are elegant, simple, and field tested and tailored. In this scenario, the stakes are higher, technologies must succeed with a unique set of design challenges and address a higher burden of global illness. To ensure these technologies aligned with ususer’s needs, co-development with innovators in LMICs and multiple iterations with their feedback are needed for ultimate translation to practical use.

Boston has emerged as a cluster of biomedical innovation for global health. The area’s leading academic institutions in medicine and engineering have coupled their collaborations across the globe, to create design and invention spaces for impact-driven research in global health. In this rich environment, now is the time for Global Health Technology 2.0. We define Global Health Technology 2.0 as the practical applications of science that are effective and sustainable in their intended care delivery settings. Here, technology stands as an independent determinant of global health rather than an aspect of policy that gets folded in as systems mature. In our work towards this new model of technologies in health, we outline a new way of doing research and development. The practice of Global Health Technology 2.0 equally balances attributes of Collaborative Research, Co-creation, and User-driven insight to drive the invention of innovative projects.


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