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Hospital in a Box
Jamais Cascio, 31 Oct 05

hospitalinabox.jpgIt's getting so that we may need a separate " a box" category. At last week's British Invention Show, medical technician Alexander Bushell and consultant Dr Seyi Oyesola unveiled a portable medical system intended to provide core surgical support in inaccessible areas. Designed to allow a team of three doctors to carry out common surgeries (including treating burn patients), the "Hospital in a Box" won the show's Invention of the Year award.

Weighing in at around 150lbs, the unit is light enough to be dropped by helicopter into stricken areas, but contains anaesthetic equipment, a defibrillator, a burns unit, plaster-making facilities, surgical equipment and a built-in operating table. It even comes with its own tent to create an ad hoc field hospital.

The system is powered by a truck battery, and is made to be readily recharged via solar panel. The basic kit, minus battery, costs about £14,000, or roughly US$25,000; additional modules provide support for an extensive selection of drugs and more specialized medical treatments (including orthopedic surgery).

According to New Scientist, Bushell is working with groups in Nigeria to test the unit in remote areas. The system has a website with a few pictures but very little information.

So at this point we have functional examples of medical support, renewable power, water purification, and networking/telecommunication gear, all "in a box" and usable for relief and emergency situations. We're getting close to a complete disaster response center able to fit on a flatbed truck.

(Thanks to David Foley for the tip)

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We'll call it "The 21st Century in a Standard Shipping Container."

Posted by: Brock on 31 Oct 05

Doc in a box.

Posted by: wintermane on 31 Oct 05

Now if aspects of this could be somehow further automated or roboticized....
*But,* OTOH, Wintermane's comment reminds me of a potential danger--something I saw on a documentary "special" on the Sci-Fi Channel about possible downsides to advances in robotics...

Posted by: Jay on 31 Oct 05

Now this is fearsomely cool! MSF could really use things like this.

And I second Brock's coinage if a new category is created.

Posted by: Pace Arko on 31 Oct 05

"costs about £14,000, or roughly $25,000"

That would be US$25,000, right? Here in Canada we also use the dollar sign for our currency, as do other countries with WorldChanging readers.

Posted by: Dethe Elza on 1 Nov 05

Dethe Elza, you're absolutely right. Fixed now.

Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 1 Nov 05



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