Our team at Little Devices is thrilled to announce the MakerNurse Project!
Our goal is study the behavior of inventive fabrication among nurses in America—small everyday workarounds, hardware creations, and inventions made or imagined by nurses that hold the potential to improve patient care. In our work at creating technologies for easier medical fabrication we have gathered countless examples of nurses constantly being overlooked as hardware innovators in the clinic. Our aim is to change that. With the fantastic support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, we are meeting nurses from around the country who are examples of MakerNurse behavior.
Over the next six months, MakerNurse will be collecting stories from inventive nurses across the nation to better understand what drives them to innovate and how best to nurture the creative potential of the American nurse. We have some other fantastic partners including Make Magazine and hospitals around the country that are signing up to open their units for MakerNursing (you can still sign up)
In the last few years, our academic research at MIT led us thousands of miles away to find examples of DIY medical technologies being used in hospitals and clinics around the world. There was overwhelming evidence that many of the best medical makers were nurses. They are fearless. They are creative. However, they are also very quiet about it.
We began brainstorming with the Pioneer Team when Lori Melichar approached us about bringing our nursing efforts from global health to the American health system about a year ago.
As she puts it: “We know nurse innovators are out there, making things and using their imagination to solve problems, improve care and enhance the patient experience–whether it’s a paper clip model, an improved catheter, or a new surgical device in the works. We want to shine a light on those innovations and create a culture where nurse making is celebrated and encouraged.”
We have a website set up at http://www.makernurse.org where nurses can eventually talk about their stories of creative fabrication in the clinic. That said, that’s really only a part of our approach. We will be using the initial signals from the site to set up site visits in hospitals and clinics around the country to really understand why and how nurses make things. Eventually, our aim to create tools and resources that can help them do this better, instead of having to rely on outside designers to take over their original solution space.
MakerNurses, we know you are out there! Let’s meet up!
Project Link: www.MakerNurse.org
A few weeks ago, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta featured the Little Devices group. Watch the nebulizers, MEDIKits, and toys in action!
More at The Next List
Make Magazine’s Ultimate Kit Guide featured our MEDIKit platform in an article we wrote called “‘Design for Hack’ in Medicine”. What does this mean? Imagine a design philosophy that embraces transparent designs and leverages points in a device to guide how it gets modified by users. That’s the essence of our Design for Degrees of Freedom practice at the Little Devices group. Make allowed us to expand on the model and show real world examples in action.
Places like Nicaragua have some of the poorest areas on the continent. But what about Nebraska? What about healthcare at home? For years, health technology has been shielded from tinkering and DIY invention because of the perceived barriers to entry: you’re not a doctor, you’re not a biomedical engineer, you require professional supervision. Health equipment has to be safe and rigorously tested, first and foremost.
Medical invention kits have the potential to lower many of these barriers and put health hacking back into the hands of users and of patients — the people who have the most to gain from affordable and elegant innovations. As the developing world gets a head start on DIY medical technologies, we’ll see many of those user-generated inventions make their way back to richer countries.
More at Make
My recent contribution to the Make Magazine’s Blog includes our lab’s analysis of cautery pens. The Secret Life of Cautery Pens does a teardown of those handy, but pricey, surgical tools.
Soldering irons get hot. Light bulb filaments also get hot. Cautery pen filaments get so hot that they can cut through flesh effortlessly. Physicians routinely use them for small surgical procedures. Unlike a scalpel, a cautery pen uses the heat from the filament to both cut and seal bloodflow, which can minimize the risk of infection and post-op complications. They are available at most online medical suppliers for around $12 each.
[inside] I expected a transformer, some type of power converter, a super capacitor. Instead, $12 gets you the electronics complexity of a pocket flashlight. Maybe they weren’t so special after all?
Aah, the tips. Maybe the tips are in fact special, some sort of complex alloy that’s optimally designed to heat up using two AA batteries. That would justify the price, and why the manufacturers can rack up the cost of a reusable one to $24.
More at Make