There is some unimaginable technology in this day and age, especially when it comes to its application in developing countries. Many of us are aware of the wonders that small-tech devices can have in education and micro-finance businesses. But when it comes to health-related technology, things can get more expensive and less mobile. Premiering at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas is a series of devices that may be the new tools for health clinics around the world with the potential to reduce the cost of expensive equipment, improve patient record keeping, and most importantly save lives. This festival introduces life-saving devices.
The Interactive Festival at SXSW is one of the earlier showcases of the multi-tiered festival in Austin. From ‘TED talk’ like presentations to interactive gaming and activities, festival-goers can peruse and try-out different gadgets and new technology.
One of the larger exhibits displays products centered around the “quantified self” movement. Recently, apps and personal devices have come on the market and allow individuals to monitor and track certain aspects of their daily lives to better improve their health. While many of these programs are not quite adjusted for use in developing countries, there were some products that have the potential to be used in countries where large machinery and regular doctor visits are uncommon and difficult.
As part of GE’s Healthymagination Initiative, a new blood glucose monitor has been developed that is not only physically smaller than a normal monitoring system, but stores and charts information such as insulin, glucose, and carbohydrate levels. While blood sugar levels may not be the biggest concern in areas with a number of cases of communicable diseases, its a health concern nonetheless that can now be easily monitored by health clinic workers.
Another invention is the breast cancer-detecting bra. Mammograms run a bit expensive and thus may be low on a priority list for women who struggle to barely feed their children. An initial investment in these bras that monitor on the longer-scale any signs of breast cancer can help women in villages without immediate access to a doctor
While all these life-saving devices sound truly amazing, it is of course only with time that their affordability will come to a level in which organizations can buy and or donate them to health clinics around the world. What would work even better is if those at GE’s Healthymagination initiative focused on the needs of those living in more impoverished conditions and how certain devices would lower their risks of diseases and other health risks. Or even better, if they came together to donate the devices directly to families in need.
– Deena Dulgerian