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Turning toys into medical devicesMIT Professor Jose Gomez Marquez has created medical devices out of Legos, developed a way to print paper-based diagnostic technology, and figured out how to power a nebulizer with a bike pump.
-Hi, I'm Boonsri Dickinson for CNET. I'm here with Jose Gomez-Marquez, a scientist at MIT. Thanks for coming. -Thanks for having me. This is very exciting. -So, I see you brought tons of toys. You make toys into medical gadgets. -We do. Our work is in global health and most of those devices that get donated to the developing country failed because they were not designed to be use in these environments. We need to make a Land Rover version of medical devices for these countries because right now we are sending the Ferrari versions and they fail. And so, one of the ways to empower better designs is by empowering users who are everyday users of the-- of the devices and we made these kits to do that. -Basically, you've brought in a couple of things. -Yeah. -One is a nebulizer for Asthma patients. -Yes. Nebulizers are mostly common in hospitals and this is basically an air compressor. -Uh-huh. -It's about $60 to $80. It needs electricity and it's pretty fancy. And, you connect it to this device which is in fact the nebulizer and-- if you hit the button for me. We can see a spray. So, these are about 4 to 5 micrometer size particles and they get into your deep lung and that's very important if you're an Asthmatic. What's also very important is if you're in the middle of nowhere in a developing country, you might not have electricity. So, what we do-- -Right. -is we show our users how to connect a traditional bike pump that they can bike it on. -So basically, it does the same thing? -It does the same thing. And so, if you could use your-- your foot, it would be easier. But, the idea is that we can show them how to connect two or more. -Uh-huh. -So, it makes it easier and it basically produces the same size of particles. -Uh-huh. -It only takes about 5 minutes to die from an Asthma attack and that the ride to the hospital is about 20 minutes. So, this is pretty useful sometimes. We have cutter plotter that you can find at Michaels in the greeting card section to make things such as paper micro-fluid tests because it's basically has a very precise C and C cutter for about $200. So, we can deploy one of those and people can make their own tests. -So, then you basically just a knife instead of a pen in any-- -Right. -designs on whatever you're making. -Exactly and so we can get really-- a very specific micro fluid tests like this but on paper. Paper is great because then not only is it easy-- is an easier material to deal with. But, it's easier to create patterns and what I-- what we're trying to do is create what we called Responsive Epidemiology which is trying to basically map disease as it moves in real time. So, I can take a picture on to one of these papers based on the diagnostic result-- -Uh-huh. -and then I can upload it to a Cloud or a text message or it whatever int that. -So, the phone would basically recognize pattern that kind of works like a pregnancy test? -Pretty much. -Right. -Exactly. We can also use them to make lab on a chip which we then couple with Legos. The reason with use Legos is because it has a really nice brick form for things to attach on too and-- and they're very-- the tolerances are great. -Well, the point of this is that usually the equipment to make it is very complicated and expensive. So, what you've done is you've made it so that you can pretty much print out the design, right? -Exactly. So, this came out on a machine that's probably about half a million dollars. It's made in Germany and these are probably less than $10 in the materials. And, you can test different diseases and multiplex which means do a number of sequence of all the tests. -So, what are some of the things that are being tested? -So, right now, people are doing things like Anemia. They want-- they want to find out how to test Dengue, how to test for glucose readings and protein content. Basically, a number of clinical tests that are just that are-- [unk] better of a clinic. This is what they're trying to do. -Thank you. -Thanks a lot for having me. This is a lot of fun. -I'm Boonsri Dickinson for CNET. Thanks for watching.