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Developing medical devices from toys.

I'm a bit of a toy nut. I still get excited when I see some cool new toy in the store that can do something fantastic (well, "fantastic" being a relative term, but certainly something that is unusual for a toy). As such, I've taken notice of the fact that toys today are offering greater functionality and come with some pretty advanced technologies, especially given the price of some of these items. You'll find voice recognition or cameras or mechanized robotics, in addition to more simple engineering innovations like motion control or audible devices, in toys today.


To that end, while poking around at the CNN site, I was excited to find a fantastic video/news story about Jose Gomez-Marquez who is working with toys and re-engineering them to be used as affordable medical devices in developing nations. Founder of the Little Devices group at MIT, Marquez finds the advanced technologies that are being used in toys today as capable of so much more than they were originally intended.

Marquez has even traveled to some of the areas for which he is developing these medical devices and worked with healthcare professionals there to see what their needs were and to try to instruct them on how they might be able to develop their own devices from the toys sold in their stores.

Marquez is developing a toy "kit" that would enable healthcare professionals to design and build their own devices using the technologies provided. Based on a LEGO-type of component building system, the devices can be fabricated and used for real medical procedures.

The news video is split into two parts and my blog at the MDT website, which you can find at, has the direct link to the feature at the CNN site.

I would be very interested to hear a follow-up to this story and see how these devices are holding up in real medical environments.


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Title Annotation:From the Editor's Desk
Author:Fenske, Sean
Publication:Medical Design Technology
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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