kdawson from the band-aid-and-a-dead-bee dept.
Peace Corps Online writes "The NYTimes ran a story this week about a group of scientists who have built a neonatal incubator out of automobile parts, including a pair of headlights as a heat source, a car door alarm to signal emergencies, and an auto air filter and fan to provide climate control. The creators of the car-parts incubator say that an incubator found in any neonatal intensive care unit in the US could cost around $40,000, but the incubator they have developed can be built for less than $1,000. One expert says as many as 1.8 million infants might be spared every year if they could spend just a week in the units, which help babies who are born early or at low birth weights regulate their body temperature until their organs fully develop. Experts say in developing countries where infant mortality is most common, high-tech machines donated by richer nations often conk out when the electricity fizzles or is restricted to conserve power. 'The future medical technologists in the developing world,' says Robert Malkin, director of Engineering World Health, 'are the current car mechanics, HVAC repairmen, bicycle shop repairmen. There is no other good source of technology-savvy individuals to take up the future of medical device repair and maintenance.'"
"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all
other causes combined."
-- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_