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25th September 2014

Homemade medtech that actually works

How complicated is medical technology? Very. But does it have to be that way?

Sure, there are ‘simple’ technologies out there as well, like the origami microscope or the vinegar cancer test. But how many of us mortals could come up with such things in our backyard?


Image: Christina Stephens on YouTube

As I was going through articles on Christina Stephens’ lego leg, it occurred to me that the concept of simple, do-it-yourself medtech had to be a bigger global trend that first met the eye. And after a big of googling I found an MIT spinoff call Little devices that has embraced the makeshift medtech philosophy (disclaimer: don’t try this at home…unless maybe you’re also from MIT).

Their team of five roams through stuff that anyone can find at home like mirrors, legos, buttons and ribbons to create medtech that actually works: like a nebulizer powered by a bike pump, or a sterilizer that works with the help of a pressure cooker.


The Nebulizer by Little Devices

It’s not just all fun though. One of their hit ideas, the MEDIKit gives doctors and nurses (and anyone) the opportunity to invent their own devices by giving them basic “building blocks”, much like a lego kit.

It contains a bunch of colour-coded parts which can be assembled to make over a hundred devices used in diagnostics, surgery, drug delivery, or prosthetics. After all who knows best about devices than the people who use them day after day in the field.

Check the video on nurses building an alarm system from a toy gun or let José Gómez Márquez, director of Little Devices talk you through it.


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Header photo credit: Dave Stone/Flickr