Hackaday Prize Semifinalist: Helping Out In The ER

[Moldovanu] and [Radu] are out to fix emergency medical care in their native Romania. They’re developing a very inexpensive bracelet that keeps track of heartbeat, blood oxygen, and temperature of a patient, either in an ER or in the waiting room.

The Health Mate, as the guys are calling it, is a small bracelet loaded up with IR LEDs, photodiodes, a temperature sensor, and a WiFi module. They’ve wired all these parts up on a home made board, connected a battery, and are starting to measure their vitals.

It’s a simple device, but it’s simple for a reason: heart rate and blood oxygen saturation are some of the most important indicators doctors and nurses look at when triaging patients. By making their health monitor cheap and good enough, it eventually makes its way onto the wrists of more patients, and will hopefully save more lives

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6 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Semifinalist: Helping Out In The ER

  1. Wow! Good work guys! It seems like a really well-tought project. It’s really a shame that the level of health care in Romania has reached this low. And good luck finding sponsors from the goevernment. I mean, they are taxing even the unemployed to pay health care taxes, or those that are not even living in Romania. Did I mention that EVERYONE must pay ~200 euros/year for healthcare? That may not seem much, but when you think that the minimum wage in Romania is ~250 euros, you are giving away a months work.
    But it seems your project could help a LOT of people! Good luck!

    1. Emergency rooms don’t turn away seriously injured people, so folks who are nominally choosing to forego healthcare still end up getting the most expensive kind when they actually need it. In other words, if you don’t force *everybody* to pay into the system you are 100% guaranteed to end up with a huge free rider problem.

      The real problem is the low wages.

  2. That’s awesome. It’s a shame that regulation and certification make these sort of mass cheap approaches hard. I mean absolutely, I know we have and need those for a reason. But the flexibility isn’t there.

    That said I guess if you had one of these flashing red and distracting all the doctors and nurses because they think someone’s dying when they’re not, that’d be a big problem.

  3. Interesting project, good start, but also a long way to go.

    Here’s a few things to watch out for:

    Regulation and certification is there for a reason, and medical devices have a lot of regulations.

    (1) A Lithium-Ion battery that goes bad on a wrist medical bracelet
    could be a real disaster, especially so on an unconscious patient.

    (2) EMS (ElectroMagnetic Susceptibility) of this device to other medical equipment. You don’t want other equipment to cause this bracelet to give of false readings or set off alarms.

    (3) EMI (ElectroMagnetic Interference) from this device to other medical equipment. You don’t want this device to cause other equipment to give false readings or to malfunction.

    (4) Sterialization. If it’s to be reused from patient to patient, how can it be cleaned? If single-use, how is it manufactured in a sterile environment?

    (5) Hacking. Can data from this device be interfered with? Either to give false reading (patient is fine, but actually dead or being smotherd by a pillow in their bed). Or data intercepted (sent to a healthcare company that doesn’t like the prognosis and cancels the client’s insurance).

    (6) Cost. Can it be maunfactured for <$50? That way it can be jacked up to $2,000 to help pay for the healthcare company's CEO's new Porsche.

  4. And above it all there is EU directive 93/42/EWG which generates national laws makes it basically unsellable and illegal to use as the design work didn’t happen inside a organisation that has proven to be able to do so.

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