In Paging Dr. MacGyver, Julian Smith profiles a wide range of medical makers, from patients to carers to doctors, each of whom has homebrewed some important piece of medical or therapeutic equipment. From DIY prosthetic limbs to the wonderful Dr Oluyombo Awojobi, whose rural Nigerian clinic is graced with a collection of his brilliant improvised devices built from scrap, Smith makes the case for a networked world where medical needs, ingenuity, and a spirit of mutual aid and collaboration are offering new opportunities for making each other healthy.
Amelia Marzec’s inspiration to design a hearing-aid helmet was both financial and personal. When a tumor left her deaf in one ear, the Brooklyn-based artist discovered that the standard treatment for her circumstances was a bone-anchored hearing aid (known as a BAHA), which requires a screw implanted directly into the skull, and then a hearing aid that snaps onto the screw to vibrate and conduct sound. The surgery costs from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, and is not always covered by insurance. Insurers rarely, if ever, cover the snap-on hearing aid, which is fragile, has a price tag that can range from $4,000 to $7,000, and requires replacement every several years.
“I realized it sounded like something I could build in my living room,” Marzec says, and that’s exactly what she did, attaching electronics from Radio Shack to a standard construction hardhat. Like the BAHA, the Re-Wired helmet uses bone conduction, routing sound through microphones and amplifiers to a vibration element placed against the forehead. Marzec’s prototype, however, cost only a few hundred dollars to put together — and doesn’t involve surgery.
Paging Dr. MacGyver [Julian Smith/Medium]
Texas State University’s Body Farm (AKA Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University or FACTS) is a 45-year-old facility where the corpses of medical body donors are left to decompose so that researchers can observe the rate at which human remains are consumed by the elements, scavengers and microbes, allowing them to accurately date the […]
A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]
Dr Gale Ridge is a public entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where an average of 23 people a day call, write or visit; an increasing proportion of them aren’t inquiring about actual insects, they’re suffering from delusional parasitosis, and they’re desperate and even suicidal.
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]