Monday, February 24, 2014

Rebooting Medical Testing

When I worked as the computer systems administrator at Medical Diagnostics, a community medical testing lab (from 1988-94), occasionally I would give a tube of blood for control tests. The experience involved the phlebotomists putting a tourniquet on my arm, finding a vein, inserting a needle and releasing the tourniquet so the blood would fill a vacuolated tube. The analysis machines at the time could sometimes do multiple tests on the same sample, but often patients had blood drawn into different tubes for haematology, biochemistry and serology.

In 2003, Elizabeth Holmes, at the age of 19 dropped out of Stanford University and invented a way to run 30 lab tests on a single drop of blood.

Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos 
Collecting just a pin-prick of blood, Theranos' Nanotainer reduces the blood required for testing to about 1/1000 of the size of traditional phlebotomy.

Other innovations from Theranos include improving the test and assays for faster results. Instead of growing cultures which takes days, they measure the DNA of pathogens. And by automating the processes as much as possible, they can offer much lower and transparent pricing, with the potential of saving billions of dollars in the US health system.

Read more at Wired:
And Theranos:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Open Source Prototyping/Construction Toy

Here's an interesting gadget for constructing all sorts of stuff with recyclable materials.

Strawbees is a fantastic prototyping toy for makers of all ages helping you build huge mechanical objects from standard straws and cardboard!

Strawbees creators, Creatables lets you create the connectors with the MakeStation, a manual die cutting machine that turns waste materials into useful objects.