Tarek Loubani, a doctor working at the Shifa hospital in Gaza, has figured out a way to give hospitals across the blockaded strip easy access to low-cost medical instruments. Loubani has developed a stethoscope which costs only 30 cents and can be 3D printed.
THE PROJECT GLIA
Tarek Loubani has been “trying to release high quality free medical hardware to increase availability to those who need it”, as the website of Glia project states. Project Glia, according to The Register, was developed in the aftermath of the conflicts between Israel and Gaza in 2012, when Loubani and his medical team had no access to important equipment in order to take care of those injured.
In fact, as he said at the Chaos Communications Camp, he was forced to put his ear to the victims’ chests in order to hear their heartbeats due to the lack of good stethoscopes.
Together with a team of medical and technology specialists, Tarek Loubani designed the stethoscope and tested it against global standard benchmarks and, as he says, it is as good as any stethoscope -“and he has the data to prove it”.
Now, he is confident that the medical instrument that he funded himself and has cost him more than 11,000 dollars so far will be approved soon since it has only been used locally for the past six months. Also, audio-frequency response curve tests revealed that it provides better sound quality than the infamous Littman Cardiology III.
The idea of the 3D-printed stethoscope was inspired by his nephew. When Loubani tested his stethoscope toy, he found it performed much better than expected.
The innovative stethoscope by project Glia has been released as an open source model on Github for anyone to use.
The stethoscope was just the beginning since the team is now working on some of the most expensive devices in medical centers including a pulse oximeter, an electrocardiogram for cardiac patients and will work on haemodialysis machines.
Loubani’s goal is to replace expensive solutions, following the footsteps of the Free Software Movement, and he hopes that in 25 years the world is going to be a better place. For everyone.