Saturday, March 31, 2007

Send in the generics

A company called Generic Medical Devices is now guessed it. Medgaget reports that the company is currently marketing three 510(k) approved surgical instruments. Company CEO Richard Kuntz says they are currently the only one in the space.
Currently, GMD occupies an industry of one, but there is plenty of room for other generic manufacturers. Ideally, each new generic manufacturer would focus on a unique device segment in order to best meet increasing demand and maintain the highest levels of safety and efficacy.

They take on existing devices which are available, have been approved for 510(k) clearance, and then sell them at 2/3 the cost of branded counterparts. What's unclear to me from the article is what their patent position is. Has no one really done this before, or does the pace of surgery go so fast that surgical instruments that were in use 20 years ago ( e.g. screws) are abandoned by the companies that developed them?

More at Medgadget

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Next Big Thing

Survey 700 IEEE fellows and you get an idea of what they think the Next Big Thing Is. Among the questions and answers:

More at BrainBuzz, Anne Swift's pulse on technology.
Tags: ,

Friday, March 23, 2007

Little Devices in the Wind

Hong Kong University's Motorwind have made these tiny wind turbines that work with only 2m/second mini gales. More at Motorwind.

Thanks to AIDG via Twitter.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Event alert: Learn about IP today

From Young Inventor's International
Join YII online for the Intellectual Property for Start-Ups webinar with Suvashis Bhattacharya of Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner (Silicon Valley) on Thursday, March 22nd, 6 - 7 PM EST.

More at YII

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Hype Cycle


Muletas de Cartulina

Cardboard crutches are Michael Joynt's answer to expensive crutches found in most hospitals. His design costs roughly 2.75 pounds and is made of
convolute cardbored cores wrapped in Poly Propelene plastic and rubber pushlift parts
I wonder if this is the same stuff found in the cores of fax spools and such...would that be strong enough? These cores can be pretty tough...other's like Japan's Shigeru Ban have made houses and other structures. What else can you come up with?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Neglected Diseases Week on NPR

NPR is featuring a series on neglected diseases all week long.
If you missed on the radio, you can listen online.

The latest story is about Dr. Ben Richards, an infectious disease specialist who has worked in underdeveloped areas for the last 25 years.

Friday, March 9, 2007

AIDG's Technology Sourcebook

The good people at the Appropriate Infrastrucure Technology Group (AIDG) have a section on their website that I hadn't run into, It's an excellent source of appropriate technology sources, and even files on their own technology. Now I know where to get that bidirectional satelite broadband internet system for rural telepathology.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Young Inventors International

The tinkerers out there will like this post. Innovators, inventors, scientists, thought leaders, business and social entrepreneurs are part of the network and organization known as Young Inventors International. I am rarely a fan of entrepreneurship centers or conferences because they often hype up what is possible into empty motivational talks.

This group is totally different.

Hype and excitement are replaced by thoughtful observation, intelligent feedback, and constant support and education. Just the kind of support you need to look around, plan a strategy and ramp up your project. It's the only support group of its kind that combines entrepreneurship + invention + social return in everything they do.

I can't say enough good things about this invention powerhouse. They offer an array of resources for those of us who are into product development and entrepreneurship. They have real guidance on starting taking your product from idea, to invention, to product, to business. There's no hidden agenda. The non-profit organization's focus is You, Inventor.

This is not your average entrepreneurship center. Anne Swift, the founder of YII, has a talent for finding and connecting people cutting across a wide array of fields. I've met friends working on collaborative software, solar-powered trash compactors, explosive tracking RFIDs, distributed hybrid transportation systems, and portable ice technology (I know ice is had to be there). I have gotten help from hand picked veteran medical device designers, international technology transfer experts, business people, attorneys...the list is long.

Coming up this month

March 22, 2007 6 PM - 7 PM EST
Intellectual Property Basics Webinar
Suvashis Bhattacharya, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner

and you just missed an excellent talk on outsourced manufacturing opportunities.

Tons more info at

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Social Enterprise Conference today at HBS

I totally wanted to go this and I totally forgot to register!

Tough week.

Anyways, I know some of you may be going, so take notes, blog, send me your bootleg tapes podcasts, anything...

The schedule seems to be interesting. Speakers include Victoria Hale and David Gergen.

There's going to be a career fair, a Pitch for Change competition, and 18 different panels.

I'm so bummed.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

News from Proto, courtesy of Mass General Hospital

I didn't have to far for this one: Proto, the quarterly from my hometown's own Mass General Hospital, has some great medical articles. They cover some of the best medicine in the country, cutting edge technology, and policy with a refreshing worldly outlook. They also have some awesome graphics.

A quick rundown of the last 3 issues that LDTC likes:

An interview with Dr. Kenneth Kamler on Extreme Doctoring---one moment you're in Nepal and in Mars the next:

Q: You wrote a book called Surviving the Extremes: A Doctor’s Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance. Do people who live their entire lives in extreme environments have different expectations of medical science than we do?

A: They don’t expect nearly as much. They’re accepting of injury and illness: If they fail to produce, they become a burden on their family and their village. I knew a Sherpa who worked for two years with a dislocated ankle. He had to—otherwise his family would have starved.

Q: What are the biggest obstacles to treating an astronaut injured on the moon—or Mars?

A: The time delay—the time it takes to transmit across vast distances. It’s not a huge issue with telemedicine, but for remote surgery it’s hard to see how the problem can be overcome. A surgeon, working remotely, can tie a suture with a two-second delay. With a three-second delay, hand-eye coordination is no longer possible; because neural circuits work on immediate feedback, it would be like trying to drive a car by looking out the back window. The time delay on the moon is 2.5 seconds. On Mars it’s 20 to 40 minutes.

Q: How does NASA envision solving that problem?

A: Surgery would have to be pre-programmed, as in a player piano. Magnetic resonance images would be radioed back to Earth and analyzed. Then doctors would figure out the operation needed, program it into a computer and send the information to a robotic surgeon on Mars. That’s the only way it could be done—unless you can speed up the speed of light!

Fall 2006 coverage of Tech for Developing World:
A wearable malaria monitor that that doubles as a wristwatch to test for Maria 4 times a day.

A lab-on-a-chip developed in Spain that can detect tuberculosis and other infectious diseases using technology that checks out the DNA chain of each disease.
Fall 2005: The fablab helps on maxillofacial surgery patients in Iraq:
A young victim of a bomb blast in Baghdad arrives at a U.S. army hospital requiring facial reconstruction. Surgeons upload data from scans of the boy's skull into a 3-D laser printer, which produces a ceramic bone substitute of his jaw within hours. Known as additive fabrication, or rapid prototyping, the process—in which cross-sections of liquid, powder or sheet materials are fused into objects of ceramic, plastic and metal—is used to create prosthetic devices and models of organs, joints and bones. Recently, surgeons in Dallas used a model (above) of a conjoined skull, replicating bone structure and vasculature, to guide them in separating twins.

I recently learned that Aerovax was nominated for this year's Tech Museum Awards in the Health category. Of course, our team is thrilled and humbled that someone out there thinks so highly of our project. Stay tuned and cross your fingers for us! And a big thanks for the person(s) that nominated us!

From their website:
The Tech Museum Awards is an international Awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.

The Tech Awards program inspires global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems by recognizing the best of those who are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues facing our planet. People all over the world are profoundly improving the human condition in the areas of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development through the use of technology. It is the goal of The Tech Awards to showcase their compelling stories and reward their brilliant accomplishments.

Each year, candidates are nominated and then invited to submit applications. Individuals, for-profit companies, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible. International panels of judges review the applications and annually select 25 Laureates. Awards are presented in five categories: Health, Education, Environment, Economic Development, and Equality.

More from the Tech Museum Awards site

Be the engine, be the fuel

The Human Powered Workshop featured a number of projects whose fuel source is you. I am a huge fan of these machines and applications --- sometimes you can get something Rube Goldberg would have been impressed with and sometimes you an very elegant approaches.

When I think human-powered an image of someone cycling away comes to mind. These folks have taken things many steps further:

A Street Cleaner: the Dirt Anhilator

A Milk Warmer---(of course)

In 2005, the MIT based project, Bicilavadora won the MIT IDEAS competition with their cycle-powered machine to replace the old stone-and-river method used in many places around the world.

More at WorldChanging

and if you're into building this stuff Instructables has some great projects as well as Howtopedia, Appropedia, and Maya pedal.