Usually accustomed to spending most of their time making nuclear weapons, a group of scientists in India have developed a unique life-saving device, a low-cost, affordable solution for the rural masses of India at that.
It is estimated that one person in India dies due to a heart attack every thirty seconds. While adequate facilities exist in urban areas, rural and remote areas do not even have basic electro-cardiogram (ECG) machines or specialists who can read them.
With them in mind, scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center have developed a credit card-sized Tele-ECG machine that can transmit an ECG over mobile phones to save lives. While imported commercial models are much bigger, heavier and 10 times more expensive, this 12-channel ECG machine costs just Rs. 4,000 and is possibly the smallest of its kind.
The machine can be recharged via a mobile charger and then the data can be transmitted via mobile network anywhere in the world to a specialist.
To test the new machine this reporter was rigged using electrodes and had his ECG taken in one part of Mumbai. The reading was then instantaneously sent to a specialist far away on his smartphone.
“The quality of the ECG is excellent and it has come to me in two to three different formats for me to view and it appears to be normal,” Dr Hemant Haldavnekar, a consulting physician, said.
“This is a small low-cost ECG machine that on a single charge takes 300 ECGs. It is rightly suited for rural areas,” the developer of the tele-ECG machine, Vineet Sinha, Scientist, Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), Mumbai, said.
The machine currently works on an Android-platform and can be used in conjunction with any smartphone.