Our Little Devices group at MIT has logged thousands of miles to find and empower individuals in places that simply cannot afford this spiral. Instead of charity and aid, they resort to invention. We call them “MacGyver nurses and doctors”: men and women with everyday medical inventions in hospital wards in some the poorest places in the world.
Unlike our modern day American Edison’s, they shy away from showing off their inventions, embarrassed by the prototyping hack. They lack the stature to publish in meaningful journals, and they are left out of the conversation that dictates what medical equipment looks like. So we give them tools that include toy helicopters, Lego blocks, engineering couplings, and a variety of biosensors that add to up something called MEDIKits. These erector sets for medical technology aim to democratize the invention process in healthcare.