MIT Student Develops $3 Cutting-Edge Healing Device, Field Tested in Haiti

Healing DeviceDavid L. Chandler writes on MIT News:

No one really knows why, but for an open wound, simply applying suction dramatically speeds healing times. (The theory is that the negative pressure draws bacteria out, and encourages circulation.) But for almost everyone, that treatment is out of reach — simply because the systems are expensive — rentals cost at least $100 a day and need to be recharged every six hours.

No more. Danielle Zurovcik, a doctoral student at MIT, has created a hand-powered suction-healing system that costs about $3. The device is composed of an airtight wound dressing, connected by a plastic tube to a cylinder with accordion-like folds. Squeezing it creates the suction, which lasts as long as there’s no air leak. What’s more, where regular dressings need to be replaced up to three times a day — a painful ordeal — the new cuff can be left on for several days.

Zurovcik originally intended to field-test the device in Rwanda, but then the Haiti Earthquake struck. At the request of Partners in Health, an NGO, she traveled to Haiti with 50 of the pumps.

Currently, Zurovcik is verifying the healing benefits of the device, and developing a new model that can be readily carried and concealed. The one technical hurdle that remains is ensuring the bandage seals tightly — but after that, the device could benefit a huge portion of the 50–60 million people in the developing world that suffer from acute or chronic wounds.

Read More: MIT News

16 Comments on "MIT Student Develops $3 Cutting-Edge Healing Device, Field Tested in Haiti"

  1. Bravo! Sparks of genius are a great threat to the establishment. May God bless this young woman and continue to work through her.

  2. Awesome! I heartily approve.

  3. That's called a Jackson-Pratt surgical drain and they've been around for years.

    • Word Eater | Apr 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm |

      I'm guessing that was the one referenced here: “But for almost everyone, that treatment is out of reach — simply because the systems are expensive — rentals cost at least $100 a day and need to be recharged every six hours.”

      This one costs $3.00.

      Another article about it said simply: “The creation is more or less a watered down version of a commercial negative-pressure pump, which is already a staple in American hospitals to treat bed sores and quicken burn relief.”

      It's like when NASA started building rovers and crap with off-the-shelf components. Sure, we'd had that same basic thing before, but this was a way to drastically reduce cost while only slightly reducing effectiveness.

      More of an evolution than a revolution, but still very important.

  4. technoteze | Apr 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm |

    That's fantastic! We need more bright minds applying themselves to the benifit of those less fortunate. Good going dude!

  5. That's super, but I wonder why someone didn't already do it. As for keeping the seal: uuh, put some type of gooey substance under the edges of that plastic thing? You know, like the squishy rubber washer on a water bottle.

  6. benkoshkin | Apr 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm |

    We need to encourage more people who have ideas to follow their dreams.

    Ben Koshkin

  7. Someone did this at GT too last year. I remember seeing it at senior design presentations. Figures that MIT would show us up though.

  8. Hermitbiker | Apr 19, 2010 at 10:46 pm |

    …. no one really knows why it works but it does…. improves the speed of healing…. “suction” !! Lmao, I could take this discussion into the realm of things “XXX”, but I won't !! 🙂 Just goes to show you that sometimes discoveries in healing are really basic ideas that really work…. but no one can “dumb down” enough to figure out why they do !! 🙂

  9. That's wonderful man. This is greatest invention. If possible to reduce the expenses from $100 to $3 what else to say? Keep going.

  10. Is there a web site or an email address so one can contact the inventor? George

  11. I myself used a much simpler device when I was a junior faculty member at Vet School in Sri Lanka. We used a 10cc – 50cc syringe connected to a tube just like above. Then you pull the plunger until there is 'enough' negative pressure and stick something between the barrel and plunger to make sure the plunger doesn't get pulled back.
    Actually we did this in cases of thoracic surgeries where we had to maintain negative pressure inside the thorax until the skin would healed. This 'trick' was successful every time the dog survived our 'crude' surgeries (I say crude because we had no training for thoracic surgery… only guts in our hearts and love for the animals)
    A little bit off topic, but I (yes it was my ORIGINAL idea) also did IPPV with a bicycle pump. Sure we didn't know the quantitative mmHg, but we had no other choice and it worked, at least on one occasion from what I remember.

  12. This is really neat. Exactly what Haiti needs right now! I saw a news item the other day that said Haiti's camps have anything but recovered

  13. It is a blessing for many in third world countries. This, indeed, saves time and money as the device is affordable and reduces time to heal. Many farmers and workers get injured and lose earning for days to feed their families. This will immensely help millions of people worldwide.

  14. gr8 for under developed areas…….and for others that can’t afford more………congratulations
    for simple ingenuity..we need more

  15. gr8 for under developed areas…….and for others that can't afford more………congratulations
    for simple ingenuity..we need more

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