Sunday, April 06, 2014

Low Cost - PROSTHETICS & ORTHOTICS - Design Resources - Open Source

·       The Open Prosthetics Project is producing useful innovations in the field of prosthetics and freely sharing the designs.



·       The Digital Resource Foundation for the O&P Community (DRFOP) is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop computer-based information resources and communication links for the worldwide orthotics, prosthetics and rehabilitation community – Kampala Uganda location

·       The aim of the Open Hand Project is to make robotic prosthetic hands more accessible to amputees.  Leading prosthetics can cost up to $100,000. By using emerging technologies like 3D printing, we can cut that down to under $1000. That’s two orders of magnitude cheaper, and means that these devices can reach a far broader audience!



·       Search string - (prosthetic OR prosthesis OR artificial-limbs OR orthotics)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Do You Need Help Fixing Medical Devices or Hospital Equipment?

Do You Need Help Fixing Medical Devices or Hospital Equipment?




"People Helping People" Can Now Help Repair Medical Devices Remotely


"Did you know that much of the donated medical equipment to developing countries is unusable after a time? According to Scientific American, "Medical Equipment Donated to Developing Nations Usually Ends Up on the Junk Heap". The devices might very well arrive in good working condition, but after a while, the device breaks and no one is available to fix it. Many health clinics are lucky to have a healthcare professional, much less a biomedical equipment technician. So what happens? The devices form a scrapheap of dead hospital equipment. This is very frustrating to health care workers trying their best to heal the sick."......MORE at http://voices.yahoo.com/do-help-fixing-medical-devices-hospital-12525491.html

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Might this help find missing airplanes, especially those lost at sea?

Might multiple location "listening" for a low frequency sub-harmonic of the Underwater Locator Beacon (ULB) "pinger" work, especially over long-distances? The resulting data would then yield the exact ULB location, via triangulation.





Since low-frequency sound travels farther than high-frequency sound in water, doesn't it make sense to "listen" for a low-frequency component of the ULB ping?

"When triggered by water immersion, the ULB emits an ultrasonic pulse of 37.5 kHz at an interval of once per second".  According to my reasoning, the fundamental frequency of 37.5 kHz would not travel nearly as far as a sub-harmonic of this 37.5 kHz.  From what I read, sound frequencies below 1 kHz can travel thousands of miles.  This is evidenced by whales communicating over thousands of miles.  In fact, the SOFAR channel in the sea can and does carry sound many miles.

Here's how it might work:

  1. Submarine or land base could focus on one or more sub-harmonics of the 37.5 KHz beacon frequency, "listening" for the "ping" signature.  Computer analysis could help pick this ping out of other noises.
  2. Querying multiple locations that "hear" the ping could achieve triangulation of the source, thereby finding the exact location.  Again computer analysis could help.
Here are some ideas for implementation:

***********************************************

Maybe future ULB could have two pingers or sound actuators.  The standard pinger is at 37.5 kHz, the emergency reply frequency, with a detection range of about 1-2 km.  Another lower frequency pinger or sounder could be added, however, to provide long-distance detection range.  Multiple detections at different locations could triangulate the exact position of the downed aircraft.

*************************************


What do you think?  Is this possible?  Would this work for the recent missing-at-sea airplane?

Background Information - 

According to a recent article in National Geographic, there are four ways a plane can be tracked -
Missing Malaysian Plane Spotlights 4 Ways Aircraft Talk to the Ground.

These 4 ways are listed below:


  1. Transponders (Aviation)
  2. Radar
  3. Onboard Computers
  4. Black Boxes

A component of Black Boxes is a Underwater Locator Beacon.  This beacon is essentially a audio "pinger" that emits an ultrasonic signal periodically.  This is good but the higher the frequency, the less sound travels underwater.  Thus, the receiver of the pinger signal must be fairly close to the pinger transmitter.

Every sound has a fundamental frequency, harmonics, and subharmonics.  Subharmonics = Undertones

Disclaimer - Article is for information only.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Do you need help fixing medical devices or hospital equipment?

Do you need help fixing medical devices or hospital equipment?

“People helping People” can help repair devices remotely.

Did you know that much of the donated medical equipment to developing countries is unusable?  The devices might very well arrive in good working condition, but after a while, the device breaks and no one is available to fix it.  Many health clinics are lucky to have a healthcare professional, much less a biomedical equipment technician.  So what happens?  The devices form a scrapheap of dead hospital equipment.  This is very frustrating to health care workers trying their best to heal the sick.

This article is meant to inform of the resources available now to help you or others repair defective medical devices.  Listed below are some resources, ranging from equipment manuals to possible contacts for more service or user information.

In addition, we have the technology now to facilitate “people helping people” fix medical devices or hospital equipment, remotely. 

·       Healthcare workers can now use Social Media to announce they need help fixing a specific device.  Then, people with knowledge and/or experience could respond and help them fix it remotely.  Some examples of Social Media are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  “Groups” could be formed within Social Media sites to facilitate the sharing of information and resources on Using, Repairing, and/or Maintaining Biomedical Equipment.
·       Mobile phones and other connectivity tools could allow a “Virtual Service Call”.  Even someone with limited repair knowledge could be guided via voice/text to perform maintenance and repair.  Video Conferencing and/or Audio Teleconferencing with multiple resources, worldwide, could allow collaboration to achieve an equipment repair and/or training.
·       The devices could be remotely, and simultaneously on-site, be accessed, diagnosed, and possibly serviced, via USB or other connection means.
·       More Service, Maintenance, and User’s manuals could be available to the public online, as some are now. 
·       Basic diagnostic, service, and maintenance skills could be taught free of charge online to anyone interested.  Online training, recorded online videos, etc. could teach the basics of repair to most anyone.

Takeaways:
·       We now have the technology available to facilitate medical device repair and/or training via a remote location.
·       Medical Devices no longer need to be discarded just because no one can fix them on-site.
·       The very basics of biomedical equipment repair can be taught remotely.  In addition, those with limited repair experience can be guided from a remote location.

For more information:
·       Medical Equipment Donated to Developing Nations Usually Ends Up on the Junk Heap – “Medical equipment donations enable hospitals in developing countries to get their hands on expensive and much-needed technology. However, there is a growing concern that those donations do more harm than good. Hallways and closets often become cluttered with unused or broken-down equipment for which locals lack parts or training in how to make repairs.”
·       Engineering World Health – “Provides students from around the world with the life-changing educational experience of repairing vital medical equipment in the world's most resource-poor communities.  In collaboration with local partners in Asia, Africa, and Central America, creates locally sustainable training programs for biomedical engineering technicians (BMETs).”
·       Frank’s Hospital Workshop – “I hope that this website can be a little support to all biomedical technicians in developing countries.  Here you find all the documents about biomedical technology I have collected, all the user and service manuals I have, all training courses that I have developed and have held.”
·       Biomedical Engineering Website by Reza Najafi – “This website is designed to assist Clinical / Biomedical Engineers to find manuals and information about Medical Equipment.”
·       International Medical Equipment Collaborative – “Used equipment is repaired as needed by skilled technical volunteers, many of whom are retired electrical engineers and medical technicians.”
·       MedWrench.com – “MedWrench.com is a resource and sharing network for users of medical equipment. You can get answers, find information and read what others think about the equipment they use. It is free to join and easy to keep informed.”
·       Medical equipment partnerships programme – “As part of the Health Partnerships Scheme (HPS), THET is running a medical equipment partnerships programme which funds five partnership projects between UK and low-income country partner institutions to improve the maintenance and management of medical equipment within developing country institutions.”
·       BMETForum.com – “This is the place to connect with biomedical equipment technicians, clinical engineers, and other healthcare technology management professionals.”
·       Medical Equipment Tele- and Condition-Based Maintenance with Enhanced Remote Diagnostic Access (RDA) and Computer Vision – “The current medical equipment maintenance model is “on site and physical”, rather than “remote and virtual”.  There is no comprehensive or standardized remote diagnostic access (RDA) capability for biomedical technicians to troubleshoot and resolve problems remotely and securely.  Additionally, the current operations model is “reactive”, rather than “proactive”, in terms of early problem detection and prevention.  The lack of visibility to the health of medical equipment and the need to be on site for problem resolution, coupled with frequent rotations and scarcity of medical equipment technicians, continue to cause considerable downtime of critical medical equipment densities and is detrimental to the health care support to our war fighters.”
·       Maintenance and repair of laboratory, diagnostic imaging, and hospital equipment, World Health Organization, 1994 – “A practical guide to the maintenance and repair of essential laboratory and hospital equipment. Intended for use in institutions that do not have specially trained technicians or engineers, the book responds to the situation, frequently seen in developing countries, where much of the equipment is imported and adequate information on maintenance and repair is rarely provided by suppliers. With these special needs in mind, the manual aims to help staff using specific types of equipment to understand basic principles of construction and operation, adopt good working practices, avoid common errors, perform routine maintenance, and spot the early signs of defects or deterioration. Advice on equipment repair concentrates on common causes of problems that can be solved without expertise in engineering.”

Disclaimer – This article is for information only and is not medical or legal advice.




Tuesday, January 07, 2014

How to find Biomedical Engineering Jobs Anywhere in the World

Here's some links that might help you find the job of your dreams in Biomedical Engineering - 

Background - I have a number of Biomedical Engineer friends all over the world.  I made this posting to help them (or anyone else reading this).  I hope someone finds it helpful.  :-)


These are the search strings I used - 

  • ("biomedical engineering" (job OR work OR position OR employment  OR post OR situation OR appointment OR vacancy OR opening))
  • ("biomedical engineering" (jobs OR positions OR vacancy OR opening))
  • If you're interested in a specific country, add that country or continent, e.g. (biomedical engineering jobs in south africa).

Links that actually have jobs or you can post your availability - 

General Information - 

Good Luck! - You still have to do the networking, resumes, contacting, interviews, etc. - but I hope this helps you in some way.
Disclaimer - Article is for information only and is not medical, legal, or employment advice.

Monday, December 02, 2013

50 Ways to End Homelessness by Using the New Healthcare Options

Stop Talking About Homelessness and Start Helping the Homeless Help Themselves

Many, if not all of us, are "one serious accident", "one serious illness", "one economic downturn" away from being homeless.


Imagine yourself having Alzheimer's and homeless. You might or might not know you need medical help. Even if someone told you that healthcare was now available, you might not even understand him or her or have the physical ability to enroll in this new health option.

This is the plight of many homeless. They might know about the new health options, but do not know how to enroll. Some homeless are "so out of it", for whatever reason, they cannot understand or comprehend they have new healthcare options.

Thus, creates a service opportunity for average people to help the homeless help themselves. Most homeless do not choose their lifestyle. Many are afflicted with physical or mental conditions that restrict their choices in life. Maybe they want to do better in life, if only they had the health they so long wanted, but was out of reach to them.

Below are 50 suggestions for people, just like you and me, to help implement Affordable Health Care for homeless people. Your efforts might very well end or prevent homelessness for one or more persons. Even your tiniest effort will probably help.

Tips:
  • Do not try to go it alone. Some homeless people might be very desperate, and maybe dangerous. Work with a team of some sort.
  • Try not to re-invent the wheel, e.g. creating your own flyers, etc. Find out what others are doing and maybe volunteer your time, efforts, and expertise.
  • Ask first before you do something. Your best-contrived efforts might not help at all and maybe even hurt. Bounce your ideas off like-minded people and see what they think.
  • Do not get discouraged. There is a lot of opposition to this new health care option. Do not let them get you down. You are working for the homeless and they do not have many options. You can make a positive difference in someone's life. Try it and see how it goes. Your reward might be the smile on someone's face as the person light up with renewed hope.
50 Suggestions - Pick one or more and start today!

1. Maybe first learn about the new healthcare options in the U.S. The links below might be enough to get started. Your local library can help you "find more like this". In addition, your local library can offer additional suggestions how you could help locally where you live.

2. Become familiar with the existing tools to aid in enrollment. 
  • Check out the "Enroll America" link below. 
  • Review the "Affordable Care Act Resource Kit", especially the section on "Take Action in Your Region, State and Community".
  • Review the "Official Resources" to find appropriate tools to inform the homeless. Especially see "Other Partner Resources" to find promotion materials.
  • Ask government officials how you can help the homeless get the new Affordable Health Care. 
  • Build on the work of "Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program". Collaborate with them and learn their best practices. Even if VA covers veteran's healthcare, spouses and dependents generally are not covered by VA benefits. Hence, the rest of the family still needs healthcare coverage.

3. Ask at your local Homeless Shelter how you can help with the Affordable Care rollout. Tasks might include providing transportation, making and distributing flyers, informing the homeless of their new health care option, etc.

4. See how your place of worship is "helping the homeless help themselves" with this new healthcare option. Join an existing group or start a group to assist the homeless in enrolling. Some pastors, priests, etc. are using their sermons to suggest actions, like the suggestions in this article.

5. Spread the word on your Social Media, e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Let others know where they can go for more information or assistance. The procedure might be a little different in each state, but there is help in registering in every state.

6. Teach your children and/or students about how the new Health Reform has great potential to end or prevent homelessness. Maybe they want to help in some way and need adult supervision. The students, themselves, might be in a homeless situation or know of someone who is. Teaching resources have been developed and are included in the references below.

7. Post flyers where homeless gather informing them that health care is now within their reach. Local radio stations could make public service announcements. Pay phones could have a flyer nearby.

8. Retirees could find a new purpose in life, "helping others help themselves". Who knows, a well-off retiree today could be a homeless retiree tomorrow.

9. Speak to the homeless in their native language about Health Reform, e.g. Spanish, Hmong, even "Street Language". Have an information session at a local shelter. Tailor your communication to reach people on their own level of understanding. You are there to inform and encourage, not to preach what people should or should not do.

10. If you are a famous or well-known person, promote Health Reform, especially using communication methods to reach the homeless. Encourage your fans to help others less fortunate.

11. If you have a business in an area frequented by the homeless, inform and promote their new health options. Homeless people might not come in to shop, but rather to warm themselves. Thus, any store has the potential of having homeless people in the store.

12. Ask on your Social Media how you can help the homeless get the new Affordable Health Care. There might be great suggestions that are not considered here. Tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. can be great collaboration and networking resources to work with others.

13. "Soup Kitchens", "Meal Sites", Food Assistance Programs, Clothing Banks, etc. could include informative flyers. These programs could even restrict assistance to only those that show proof of healthcare coverage.

14. Those who give cash donations to anyone could include an informative flyer, along with those donations. If you give money to panhandlers, give them a flyer too and ask them to help spread the word. The flyers could be the same size as money and would easily fit into a wallet or purse. Consider giving money only to those who show proof of their health coverage.

15. Check Cashing Services could post the new health care options.

16. Liquor Stores could include a flyer in the "brown paper bag".

17. Public Workers, especially Park workers, could have information on their uniforms.

18. Post announcements in rural community gathering places, e.g. post office, general store, local gas stations, etc. Many homeless are in remote places, where news travels slowly.

19. Make enrollment a condition of release for prisoners. Maybe even offer enrollment as a condition for early release. It is known that many homeless were incarcerated. For those already paroled from prison, the parole officer could insist on proof of health care coverage, as a condition of continued parole.

20. Ask addiction support groups or agencies to help spread the word to the homeless, e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous, halfway houses, AODA counselors, rehab hospitals, etc.

21. Enlist the local police to give flyers to those who are homeless or who "look like" they might become homeless soon.

22. Make enrollment a condition of release from mental hospitals. Maybe even offer enrollment as a condition for early release, since now they will have access to ongoing care.

23. Fix up an old bus to go where homeless are known to congregate. There could be facilitators onboard to assist people in registering. The bus could be equipped with computers, Wi-Fi, and/or phone access. Paper forms could be available too. Give them a dollar if they register on the bus or bring a friend to register. Maybe this is something the U.S. government would consider.

24. Ask the "runaway" or "street children" agencies to help homeless children register, even if the children do not actually go home. Even if children have no home, they can at least have healthcare. Examples of such agencies are "National Runaway Safeline”, “StandUp For Kids", etc.

25. Enrollment information could be printed on the back of public documents such as bus transfer tickets, library cards, meal/travel vouchers, etc.

26. Stores could include registration information on the bottom or back of receipts. Sometimes homeless just come in to buy a cup of coffee to warm themselves. The information on the receipt, along with the coffee, could give them renewed hope to help themselves.

27. Temporary employment places could inform workers of their new healthcare coverage. Construction crews, farms, clean-up crews often hire day laborers. Minimum wage employers, e.g. fast food restaurants, day labor services, etc. could post announcements near the "time clock". "Shadow Workers" such as peddlers, street vendors, etc. could only continue their activities if they have proof of health care coverage.

28. Organizations that help the disabled could insist on enrollment for continued assistance. One such agency that benefits the homeless disabled is HUD's "Shelter Plus Care" (S+C) program.

29. Plasma donation centers could inform participants of their new health care coverage.

30. ATM machines could have the "Welcome Message" inform where to register locally.

31. Hotels, especially those that offer, "single room occupancy (SRO)", could include a flyer with the transaction.

32. Humanitarian or service agencies could help spread the word when dealing with patrons. Examples of such agencies are the Red Cross, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Salvation Army, United Way, etc.

33. Free/low-cost food places could restrict food until the recipient is registered. Examples of this could be soup kitchens, SHARE, Second Harvest, etc. Healthcare registration could be a pre-requisite for the SNAP "food stamp" program.

34. Free clinics, emergency rooms, urgent cares, etc. could restrict ongoing treatment until registered. Of course, emergencies would be taken care of, as usual.

35. Travel-related organizations, such as Travelers Aid, could inform those who look like they might be homeless of their new options.

36. Travel places could be an opportunity to inform. Such places might include airports, bus stations, train stations, etc. Public Transportation Services could have a billboard.

37. Courts could reduce fines for those who have proof of health insurance coverage.

38. Foster care organizations, orphanages, etc. could insist on enrollment before placement or continued foster care.

39. Brainstorm "Incentives" as well as "Sanctions", encouraging the homeless to register for their own sake, as well as to benefit the community.

40. Some homeless groups publish newsletters to support themselves. You could write an article telling of the new benefits. Advertise within the newspaper, "street sheets", etc. informing the homeless and others of this new option. Buy papers only from those that show proof of their coverage.

41. Some homeless do indeed work but live out of their cars. In those cases, try to let them know they now have health care, if they only register.

42. Government offices could all have posters, flyers, etc. related to the new health care options. Examples of this would be post offices, police stations, courts, jails, welfare offices, etc.

43. Truck trailers, train cars, etc. could have a poster attached, since many homeless congregate in such areas.

44. Post flyers above dumpsters, trash barrels, etc. since many homeless search for food, cans to recycle, etc.

45. Post flyers above public drinking fountains, toilets, etc.

46. Post flyers near the Over-The-Counter Medications in stores, since many try to fix themselves with medications they can afford with little or no income.

47. Post an announcement on the online classified advertisement sites, e.g. Craigslist, eBay Classifieds, etc. In the announcement, ask others to spread the word to the homeless that they now have healthcare, if they only register for it and then use it.

48. Share your experiences with others, so others can learn from you. You might find better ways to Enroll America. You might not end homelessness, but at least you know you have done all you can to provide an opportunity for others to receive affordable healthcare.

49. On an ongoing basis, encourage people to use their healthcare opportunities. Show them how to help themselves. Suggest they get the help they need. If their health improves, maybe their homeless situation will take care of itself. When people feel better on the outside, they feel better about themselves on the inside, and want to help themselves. Someday those same people might help others help in similar situations.

50. Write an article on this, as I did. Promote the new health care options. You never know who reads your writings!

Takeaways:
  • The "Affordable Care Act" and newly expanded Medicaid have great potential to decrease homelessness.
  • Average people like you and me, can help Homeless Americans learn about their new health care options, help them enroll, and encourage them to participate in their own health care. By doing so, you are helping others help themselves.
For more information:

Homeless Healthcare - Past, Present, and Future
How to Prepare and Take Action to Help the Homeless with Healthcare
Disclaimer - Article is for information only and is not medical or legal advice. Seek professional assistance as needed or wanted.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bicycle "Helmet Reminder"

How many articles have you seen written on the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet, especially for children? Most of these articles offer few successful solutions. Usually, the solutions offered consist of parents reminding their children to wear helmets.

How about having a "Bicycle Helmet Reminder", similar to the "Seat belt Reminder" in an automobile?.....