Open Source for Biomedical Engineering in Africa

On the 11th of August a team composed by researchers from FabLab Pisa and University of Pisa’s Center for Bioengineering and Robotics “E.Piaggio” will start a great adventure with a Summer School on the project called OS4BME (Open Source for Biomedical Engineering).

The aim of the project is to adapt the DIY (Do It Yourself) and Making-Fabing philosophy to the realization of simple low-cost biomedical devices with a high ethical, economic and health impact, particularly for developing African countries.

The project was conceived at the Research Center E. Piaggio of University of Pisa and FabLab Pisa by Arti Ahluwalia (Professor of Bioengineering), Daniele Mazzei and Carmelo De Maria (Biomedical Engineers, co-founders of FabLab Pisa and researchers at the Center).

Mazzei, De Maria and Prof. Ahluwalia will hold an “Open source design and rapid prototyping for Biomedical Engineering” course at the 2nd Biomedical Engineering Innovators Summer School at Kenyatta University in Nairobi from 12th to 16th August 2013.
The Summer School is funded by the “United Nations Economic Commission for Africa” (UNECA) and organized by a consortium of 9 African universities, the African Biomedical Engineering Consortium (ABEC), of which University of Pisa is a founder member. ABEC’s main objective is to bring sustainable healthcare to Africa through excellence in Biomedical Engineering.

Participants will be introduced to the DIY open source concept and to tools such as Arduino, 3D printing and open source (OS) design. Coupled with the OS concept, strong emphasis will also be laid on safety and regulatory aspects of biomedical devices and systems. Through group learning and idea sharing, participants will fabricate simple, but useful biomedical devices and use the experience to create a Biomedical Engineers’ shared platform.

Specifically the course will focus on the realization of a solar powered Baby Monitor based on Arduino. All materials, including the 3D printer which FabLab Pisa will assemble during the course, will be donated to Kenyatta University.

The Open Baby Monitor project will be documented in the wiki page by the participants. During the course two PhD students (Giorgio Mattei and Serena Giusti) and a Master Student (Alejandro Callara) in biomedical engineering will help as tutors.

The DIY4Biomedical Project is officially supported by Arduino who have donated Arduino Kits for the Kenyatta Univeristy and the FabLab Nairobi

from FabLab Pisa and  Arduino’s Blog