Research

MEDIKit: DIY Technologies for Health

The core impact of this project stems from developing the design kits as a platform technology. Modular components allow medical professionals to design their own appropriate solutions that are more useful and sustainable to physicians and patients. Given the appropriate tools and the right context set by the course, MEDIKit users are empowered to innovate and address the unique challenges in their work environment. The MEDIKits span six areas of technology: drug delivery, diagnostics, microfluidics, prosthetics, vital signs and surgical devices. The kits contain a combination of medical device parts coded with a language of design, platform technologies that can be adapted, such as handheld microscopes, and materials to build and modify devices.

Our research into user-enabled medical prototyping continues at the lab. We are keenly interested in understanding the effects of shifting the power from the { expert + regulator } and sharing it with everyday { doctors + nurses + users } to make more transparent and accessible designs.
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ArduSpectro
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Affordable spectrophotometry remains a challenge in the developing world and for mobile diagnostic teams in a domestic disaster response. By using novel digital signal algorithms and off the shelf electronic components, the MIT team led by Dr. Paulino Vacas Jacques has created a low-cost spectrophotomer used for disease and environmental marker detection.

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Smart Birth: Tangible media birthing kit for midwives and skilled birth attendants.
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Smart Birth is a technology for tangible media devices —sensor-laden instruments interacting with a mobile app as a “bar-code scanner”— to integrate three promising life-saving approaches for moms and newborns: birth kits, checklists, and streamlined referrals. This modular technology is designed for skilled birth attendants (SBA) to use in homes, birthing centers, and hospitals.
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Solarclave: Surgical instrumentation sterilization using solar technology and found materials

With a bucket, a pressure cooker, and 140 pocket-sized mirrors, IIH researchers have invented a device that uses sunshine to sterilize surgical tools. Solarclave provides reliable surgical sterilization for rural clinics outside of the grid – enabling healthcare workers to provide basic, life-saving services for patients. It uses locally-available materials and manufacturing techniques that are already available in thousands of rural workshops across the world. Its thermodynamic efficiency allows for a small size that is easily transportable to remote clinics and is simple for one healthcare worker to set up. The technology is designed and built in collaboration with the Solar Women of Totogalpa, solar technology experts in Nicaragua.
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Adhere.IO: Behavioral Diagnostics for Compliance
XoutTB is now known as Adher.IO, an award winning behavioral diagnostics platform. The basic idea of behavioral diagnostics is that it relies on a combination of chemical diagnostic technology, wireless communication technology, and economic incentives to encourage patients to stay on their tuberculosis medication. Patients are given sets of test strips that they use every day to prove that they have taken their medication.  If proper ingestion is present in their system, a secret numeric code appears on an Adher.io diagnostic that keeps the code encrypted otherwise. Unlike DOTS where a healthcare worker intervenes to monitor, the patient sends his or her proof code via an SMS to a central processing databases that tracks the patient’s compliance rates.  For each week that the patient succeeds in taking his or her medication, they receive a reward in the form of cell phone minutes (immediately transferred electronically to their cell phones).  These short-term incentives keep patients engaged in their long-term treatment using this combination of technologies that result in positive behavior modification—and healthier patients. This is Freakonomics take on the concept.


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CoolComply
Solar-powered wireless cooling device to store life-saving medication for MDR-TB patients

Cool Comply is a cooling device that monitors the temperature of MDR-TB medication and wirelessly transmits data about the temperature of the medication and patient adherence levels to community health workers through SMS. The target audiences are community health workers in Ethiopia and patients with multiple drug resistant tuberculosis.