A portable solar-powered ECG unit

A student from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) has built a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) unit powered by solar energy. This system is intended for use in developing countries. The system has been named 'Kadiri' which means 'make possible' in the Tanzanian language Kiswahili. The idea for such a device came to the German student two years ago while he was visiting Tanzania. He worked for an hospital, fixed broken computers, and decided to develop a robust, affordable and energy-efficient ECG unit to be used in poor countries. Right now, he's focused on his exams, but he wants to found his own company to distribute the ECG unit after he gets his degree. But read more...

A student from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) has built a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) unit powered by solar energy. This system is intended for use in developing countries. The system has been named 'Kadiri' which means 'make possible' in the Tanzanian language Kiswahili. The idea for such a device came to the German student two years ago while he was visiting Tanzania. He worked for an hospital, fixed broken computers, and decided to develop a robust, affordable and energy-efficient ECG unit to be used in poor countries. Right now, he's focused on his exams, but he wants to found his own company to distribute the ECG unit after he gets his degree. But read more...

The Kadiri solar-powered ECG unit

You can see above a photo of the Kadiri solar-powered ECG unit. (Credit: Felix Adamczyk, ETH Zurich; link to a larger version of this picture)

Adamczyk demonstrating his solar ECG

And above is a photo of Felix Adamczyk demonstrating his solar ECG on a live model. (Credit: ETH Zurich; link to a larger version of this picture)

This portable solar-powered ECG unit has been created by Felix Adamczyk, an electrotechnology student in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITET) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). Here is a link to some details about his stay during 2007 at Malinyi, Tanzania, where he worked at the Lugala Lutheran Hospital.

So how does this portable ECG device get its power? "The power is generated by solar cells fitted on the appliance. Whereas conventional ECG machines have disposable stick-on electrodes, Adamczyk used reusable clamp electrodes for 'Kadiri,' thus prolonging the machine's operational lifespan. Furthermore, the customary performance battery was replaced by a lead-acid battery as the latter can be procured more cheaply and easily. Adamczyk's sojourn in Tanzania also showed him that conventional paper would gradually become brittle due to the prevalent heat there. Consequently, he used normal till paper from the supermarket and printed the millimeter grid directly onto it."

And when developing countries will get these units? Probably not before a while. "Adamczyk thinks it is still early days. 'The risk is simply too big for small and medium-sized companies to accept the solar ECG as a product,' he admits. Founding his own company would also be fraught with risks he would rather not take for the time being. His main priority for now is his degree at ETH Zurich; he will be finishing the preliminary exams this summer. After the examination stress is over, however, he intends to devote himself more intensively to marketing 'Kadiri.'"

Even if hasn't received his degree from ETH Zurich, Adamczyk already won two important prices (ETH Zurich, May 2008). "At the Landeswettbewerb in Munich he won the first prize in the field engineering and at the Jugend forscht Bundeswettbewerb in Bremerhaven, he won the excellent 5th prize." As wrote ETH Zurich, "Congratulations for this outstanding achievement!"

Sources: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology News (ETH Zurich), July 10, 2008; and various websites

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