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Cheap Incubator Backpack Could Reduce Infant Deaths

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the also-would-be-fun-to-carry-babies-around dept.

Medicine 76

Boy Wunda writes "In just one six-month period in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2006, 96 newborn babies who were in need of medical care died before they could get help. In many developing nations, these deaths could be prevented simply by providing better ways for medical responders to transport infants properly over rough terrain and keep them alive until they can reach hospitals and clinics. Now, a group of Colorado State University seniors has designed and filed a patent for a medically equipped incubator backpack unit that they believe can reduce baby deaths in medical emergencies both in the United States and in newly industrialized nations."

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Paging doctor Hern (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32268400)

Great, lets provide them to late term abortion clinics... Oh yah, we WANT those babies to be killed

Re:Paging doctor Hern (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32268418)

I propose your mother attend one of these clinics and have you aborted.

Dissapointing (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268420)

I was hoping this would be just the ticket for helping me with my cross-border baby-smuggling operation. But the thing's transparent, kinda defeating the whole purpose of "smuggling", and it's huge but can only carry one baby!

I'm sticking with my REI-brand frame backpack for baby smuggling. Swing and a miss, CSU. Swing and a miss.

Usually not a good idea..... (3, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268428)

Even the article say so: "We have to say that being carried skin to skin by a warm human body in a baby-carrier (aka 'kangaroo care') actually sounds a lot more humane, safe and baby-friendly for a newborn than being carried strapped to a board in a giant plastic box...But, we have to ask: wouldn't a low-tech solution of using a cloth baby-carrier on a compassionate person often be better, safer, cheaper and easier than this ginormous contraption? It's been scientifically shown that the best way to regulate the breathing and heartbeat of a newborn infant is to have that infant snuggle up, chest-to-chest, skin-to-skin with his mom or dad right after birth."

Also, it's 2010. We don't call them 'third world countries' anymore. We call them 'developing nations'. The former is so Cold War...

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (3, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268532)

In a safe, controlled environment, with the necessary medical equipment and personnel available, kangaroo care is probably the way to go. That isn't the use that this device is meant for though. I understood it to be designed for transporting premature infants from remote areas to proper medical care. In other words: difficult hikes, through difficult terrain, in uncomfortably hot weather, with all the bugs, plants, and pollen that comes with it.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32268734)

In a safe, controlled environment, with the necessary medical equipment and personnel available, kangaroo care is probably the way to go. That isn't the use that this device is meant for though. I understood it to be designed for transporting premature infants from remote areas to proper medical care. In other words: difficult hikes, through difficult terrain, in uncomfortably hot weather, with all the bugs, plants, and pollen that comes with it.

Here in the USA, don't we have our own babies to worry about first? It's gotten to the point of being grotesque that we citizens of the USA are putting 3rd World (sorry, "developing nations") children ahead of our very own.

I know I sound like a callous asshole when I say that I'd rather have jungle babies dying than have my fellow Americans pissing away money to solve such a problem that only developing nations can solve.

I have an idea! Let's ensure that every single child born and/or raised in the USA comes before all the dying jungle babies or fly in the eye africans. Fix our country first, then piss away our taxes on "developing nations" dying jungle babies.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (2, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268940)

I have an idea! Let's ensure that every single child born and/or raised in the USA comes before all the dying jungle babies or fly in the eye africans. Fix our country first, then piss away our taxes on "developing nations" dying jungle babies.

First of all, you are an asshole and a troll. Second, it was developed by seniors at Colorado State University, not the USAF or a direct " 'merican gubbermint program'. Not every part of the US is equal to Manhattan, so it *might* be useful in remote areas of Alaska or even remote sections of the upper plains states and parts of Canada. But if it isn't, so what. It was a college project by these seniors, and it looks like they came up with an interesting concept that might be useful, or lead to something useful, for someone, somewhere. It is unique enough to be patented, and if it isn't useful, then the market will decide, as no one will further develop or buy them.

Go ahead and cry about "our country", but wtf have YOU done lately to help infant mortality or the other problems you are bitching about in the USA?

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32269006)

Would it make you feel better if you consider this as what USA does to make up for the bad karma accumulated over the years for meddling with other countries' businesses?

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269166)

It's gotten to the point of being grotesque that we citizens of the USA are putting 3rd World (sorry, "developing nations") children ahead of our very own.

Except we aren't. It's utterly retarded to suggest that the U.S. provides more or better quality care for babies elsewhere in the world than our own.

So your whole rant is bullshit.

We do have a very sad infant mortality rate, at least compared to a lot of other 1st World countries. That has nothing to do with the meager amount of support we have given to developing nations.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269414)

Bzzzt, wrong. When all definitions are equal, including that of INFANT, we have the lowest infant mortality rate of 1st world countries.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (2, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269748)

[Citation Needed]

CIA World Factbook and UN Stats [wikipedia.org] both disagree with you.

According to the CIA we're 46th. According to UN "Under-five mortality rate" we're 34th. And UN's "Infant mortality rate" we're 33rd.

The 3 evil socialist Nordic states all place within the top 5 in both categories.

Not quite correct (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271286)

Yeah, except nether of those take in reporting bias.

For example: In Japan it's not required to report them as infant mortality. Deaths at birth can get labels as fetal mortality. In other countries an infant under a certain weight gets labels as fetal mortality.

In some countries. for example Norway and Sweden, 40% of all their fetal deaths would have been counted as Infant mortality in the US.

I Just finished reading up on a ton of research on this issue. Literally. I sent my email of the compiled data and loaded Slashdot. Weird.

Re:Not quite correct (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271458)

Well if the difference is a matter of reporting bias/standards, that's very good news. I'm guessing you don't have that data up on a public facing wiki or anything, so I won't say [citation needed]. I'm curious though that if only 40% of fetal deaths in Norway would be counted as infant mortality in the U.S., that means some deaths aren't counted as such, and I'm wondering what the difference is and what the criterion is.

Re:Not quite correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32284288)

It will be interesting to look at this bias in different countries, care to share it in a pastebin/pdf/etc?

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271066)

No we don't. Are infant mortality is lower then pretty much an other country. It has been on the decline from high risk mothers doing home delivery. Even that isn't really a lot.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271276)

No we don't. Are infant mortality is lower then pretty much an other country.

Except the 30 others that are lower. The best ones have half the mortality rate that we do.

Our numbers are not bad in an absolute or historical sense. But it's sad because we could be doing much better.

So sad we should completely forget about helping the countries in the world who have it much, much worse? No way.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (2, Insightful)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270090)

This is a false dichotomy. We can improve the infant mortality rates in the USA and help infants in 3rd world countries. The skills required are different. In this country we need improved hospital standards, better doctor training, increased access to prenatal care, and better education and care for expectant mothers in general. In Brazil they need plastic backpacks with incubators. These guys had the skills and the ideas to do the later, but not the ability to do the former, so they did what they could. It is far more then bitching about it on Slashdot will ever do.

The problems of the US health care system are entirely political. Doctors, inventors, engineers, can't do much to help on the large scale. We have the technology, we have the funding, we have the infrastructure. These guys saw a problem it was within their power to fix, or at least try to help, so they did it.

Tiny problem... (0, Troll)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32272670)

How do you get it there in the first place?
Drop them out of an airplane as a preventive measure, say... 15 of those per square kilometer?

This is utter nonsense.
If you can get a doctor to the mother, you can move the baby as well. No need for backpacking.
Unless the doctor has to get there over the remnants of a suspension bridge. And in that case, he/she is not going back the same way with the incubator on the back anyway.

Oh... wait... this should be used if the doctor suspects, based on the ultrasound, that the baby will be born prematurely?
Well then... how about keeping the mother in the bloody hospital?

Also, FFS take a look at the photos.
That thing looks like it was built by men who have never in their lives held a healthy baby in their hands - let alone a sick one. (And the "inventors", if that's them fit that description perfectly.)
An incubator that would hold a barely breathing baby in upright position, fastened across the chest with straps? Seriously?

Why not just pack the brat in a plastic bag and then jog merrily to the hospital while swinging the bag around?
I mean... if they really want to put additional strain on the barely living kid.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (-1, Troll)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268828)

"Also, it's 2010. We don't call them 'third world countries' anymore. We call them 'developing nations'. The former is so Cold War..."

Spare the PC bullshit. If we were honest we'd call them backward hellholes, which is what large parts of them actually are.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (-1, Flamebait)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269446)

You sound like a real super guy. You make a wrong on your way to Arizona?

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271620)

You sound like a real super guy. You make a wrong on your way to Arizona?

What?

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32269576)

'Third world' is a specific cold-war term. The first and second worlds refer to the US and Soviet spheres of influence. Anyone outside of that was therefore third-world. It is inaccurate now because different countries are developing/industrializing at different rates and their status changes.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32272020)

Most of the major cities in South America are actually pretty nice, as are most of the smaller ones. As an American, I wouldn't mind living and working down there. The "hellhole" parts aren't much worse than the Gulf Coast in the US. Except maybe Rio. For a population of 6 million, half of that lives in abject poverty on a scale that's almost Darfur-scale depressing.
 
Paraguay/Rural Bolivia, Suriname and the Guyanas I have not visited and from what I understand they are about as poor and lacking of infrastructure as you can get.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268884)

There's a lot of truth in what you're saying about "kangaroo care" or skin-to-skin contact for newborns. It seems to be the norm just about everywhere but modern delivery rooms to place the newly arrived immediately in the mother's arms. And the average healthy newborn is a pretty hardy being, well able to cope (with help) with a lot of what's going on outside. I also know that some really stressed-out or very early preemies can't handle a lot of contact. It's too bad they can't somehow adapt the traditional, indigenous baby-carrying methods of the area to incorporate some of the additional protections offered by the backpack. As your other responder says, to handle "difficult hikes through difficult terrain...with all the bugs, plants, and pollen..."

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271582)

We've discussed this problem in OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) training - how to safely deliver and transport newborn infants in hostile environments. This is REALLY GREAT!

wouldn't a low-tech solution of using a cloth baby-carrier on a compassionate person often be better, safer, cheaper and easier than this ginormous contraption?

Under some circumstances, yes. But this is not meant for those times when you can tuck the preemie into your clothing while you walk a few hundred feet to the helicopter or ambulance. This is back-country gear. This is for those cases where you have to scramble up/down steep terrain to the patient's location, and scramble back out with the baby.

Let's say mummy and daddy's car went off the road while the were taking Junior to the mountain cabin, and the car is a couple hundred feet down the canyon. Or let's imagine Mummy-to-be went to a friend's cabine and labor started during a blizzard (even in AZ we have blizzards). If you slip and fall with Junior swathed against your belly it's going to hurt the baby real bad.

Look at the access ports ... this lets you check out the baby, give O2, aspirate the breathing passages, give fluids, etc. without exposing the passenger to the ambient temps. Whoever is the pack mule just has to kneel.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32274276)

Also, it's 2010. We don't call them 'third world countries' anymore. We call them 'developing nations'. The former is so Cold War...

For some states out there, 'developing nation' is an accurate description of the place. In others, 'developing nation' is indeed a euphemism for 'backwards hellhole', and I think that 'third world' conjures up the proper mental imagery in a more polite manner.

Meanings change, and without any sort of controlling body for the English language, a term means what it is commonly understood to mean. The end of the cold war didn't coincide with the end of the usefulness of the term 'third world'.

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32274936)

Aren't developing nations the second world?

Re:Usually not a good idea..... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32276774)

> We don't call them 'third world countries' anymore. We call
> them 'developing nations'. The former is so Cold War...

The latter is a cruel joke. I know it's considered (in the Western world) to be politically correct, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. It's much more condescending, more insulting, laced with sarcastic implications. The worst part is the bitter irony: if a country starts *actually* developing to any meaningful extent (like, say, South Korea) people quickly stop calling it a "developing country". That puts a really unpleasant spotlight on the disingenuous nature of the thing.

What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for'... (4, Insightful)

understress (85878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268432)

While this seems like a great idea for helping babies (I'm not a doctor), why can't they just publish the idea so everyone can benefit instead of just the cities / villages / towns / areas / families / whatever that can afford to buy one? The patent part is all about making money. At the expense of dying children. No different than drug companies (and many others) in my eyes. Although I do have to say that when I was their (apparent) age, I wanted to be filthy rich and didn't see anything wrong with that. Now that I'm (supposedly) more mature (and much older), I see things like this and wonder why can't people just do some things for the good of mankind? No I'm not naive, I just don't understand human nature sometimes.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (3, Insightful)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268528)

my infant was just released from the hospital.. total cost of stay, $101,520 for 68 days... they do it for the good of mankind, so long as mankind has his Health Insuranse Plan card.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (3, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269896)

they do it for the good of mankind, so long as mankind has his Health Insuranse Plan card

Why are health care practitioners derided when they want to make a decent living just like the rest of us? The harsh reality is, the only reason your child got such excellent care was because you PAID for it (ok, the insurance paid, and you pay the premiums, but that's splitting hairs). Without the motivation to earn good money, the medical field would not attract the best and brightest minds, nor would we have the fantastic advances in medical advances that we enjoy now. Sure, there are altruistic folks out there who do wonderful work, but there's no way we could care for everyone without the support of a well-financed medical industry like we have now.

Besides, by law, no one is supposed to be denied emergency medical care in the US [wikipedia.org] . Hospitals simply absorb the cost (well, in reality, they pass the cost onto paying customers) of uninsured patients who can't afford treatment. Incidentally, it's reported now that 55% of emergency care is uncompensated. [acep.org]

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270500)

Because you charge crazy high rates?
Any reason why a doctor makes so much more than a phd?

We honestly need to commoditize health care and offer medical school free to qualifying students. Let surplus labor drive down costs.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (3, Interesting)

bmajik (96670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270792)

Any reason why a doctor makes so much more than a phd?

People are willing to pay more dollars more often to have the health or life of a loved one saved than they are to listen to some boring self important blowhard dipshit.

We honestly need to commoditize health care and offer medical school free to qualifying students. Let surplus labor drive down costs.

_I_ don't need to do anything. There are already lots of ways _you_ can provide scholarships for qualified students to become doctors. Why aren't you?

There are several things that make health care very expensive in this country:
1) nobody knows what it costs, so they never comparison shop on price; they rarely refuse service because of costs. Thus, there is no incentive to control costs. There is no market, so to speak.
2) not everybody pays, but everybody receives. That uncompensated care is paid for _somehow_
3) Doctors have their labor union legally protected by law everywhere in the US. Want to be a doctor? All the other doctors in the US get to decide that they're willing to tolerate some competition before you're allowed to practice medicine here.

Breaking the union stranglehold on who can practice medicine, and not requiring care providers to render care regardless of ability to pay would make medicine very affordable. The first would probably allow some people to receive lower quality care some of the time. It would also allow some people to receive higher quality care some of the time. I bet it's a net positive for both care and affordability [since providers would compete on reputation instead of on union membership].

You would think that the latter -- removing the legal obligation to provide care -- would mean that many people would immediately start going without care, but I don't think this is the case. In the not-so-distant past, people and doctors managed to work out payment plans and there weren't epidemic die-offs due to inability to acquire "insurance".

Essentially, the high cost of care is due to collusion between government and insurers. Remove the government involvement, and things get better.

Of course, that's not the direction people are trying to take things...

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268782)

Maybe because this isn't something you can just slap together. Sometimes you need financial backing and sometimes you need someone with manufacturing expertise. Like it or not, this is how the world works. I'm fairly certain if every little bit of technology we just given away, for the "good" of the people, we wouldn't have half the resources we have available today,

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (1)

understress (85878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269222)

I'm not advocating that 'all' inventions / improvements should be 'given away'. It just seems like some things should be done for the good of mankind. I do believe that patents play a role in helping innovation when someone thinks they can make money from something. But that being said, as pointed out on /. so many times in the past, people / corporations abuse the patent process for monetary gain.

I guess what would be nice is to occasionally hear a story about someone who does invent something, and then they make the information available for anyone and everyone to benefit from. Just because it seemed like the right thing to do.

I'm not looking for Utopia, just a better balance between greed and paying it forward.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269232)

Because here's a bitter reality: a whole bunch of people worked on this thing for a long time - months, or even years, to make it happen. If you want to appeal to emotion ("at the expense of dying children") - I'll do the same - these people quite likely have children who will be homeless and possibly starve if their parents are putting months or years worth of work only to have it given away "for the good of mankind".

Now if you want to suggest that a government or generous charity should buy it then that's fine, but you can't expect people to starve because the work they have done happens to benefit the needy, because I can tell you the immediate result of that: people won't bother with working on this sort of thing anymore.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269706)

Very well said. Here's hoping the GP takes what you've said to heart and learns from it. But, sadly, if he's "much older" and still hopelessly naive, he probably won't.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271464)

The classic Zorg v. Vito debate.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270710)

While this seems like a great idea for helping babies (I'm not a doctor), why can't they just publish the idea so everyone can benefit instead of just the cities / villages / towns / areas / families / whatever that can afford to buy one? The patent part is all about making money. At the expense of dying children.

Did you RTFA?
They're not building a centrifuge out of salad spinners.

Here's an incomplete list of features they've included:
"an electric heating system, air circulation, an air controller, various alarms that monitor the baby's temperature, etc."
Now look at this picture [inhabitots.com] and tell me that it seems like something you can jury rig in a developing country.

P.S. An appeal to emotion isn't actually an argument.

Re:What bothers me is the 'and filed a patent for' (1)

nodson6 (1816018) | more than 4 years ago | (#32280142)

We are actually pursuing non-profit organizations to take this on. I know we won't make money off of it, I don't care...

Coincidence (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268434)

I just had a baby, born very premature.. was just released from the hospital after 68 days (52 of those on life support).. Waited a long time for beds to open at up different hospitals and had to wait for the proper transport vehicle to become available.. The coincidental part, I named my son Timothy.

Natural Selection? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32268460)

Just have poor people raise less babies. They don't have money to provide for their kids anyway.

Re:Natural Selection? (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268578)

Haven't you seen Idiocracy? It just doesn't work that way.

Re:Natural Selection? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268882)

Poverty and ignorance go together, though it is terribly unfashionable to point this out. Religion keeps them from using birth control or abortion, so the trash reproduce abundantly. That reproduction reinforces all their other problems.

I despise such folk, and will do nothing to help them. That's their problem. Have some Pope (or Mullah, or whatever scornworthy shit they believe), increase fruitfully, and multiply.

Re:Natural Selection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32268976)

So, because they haven't had the same access to education that you have, and because they are poor, their babies deserve to die?

Re:Natural Selection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32269226)

Yes?

Re:Natural Selection? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271438)

You could help them be less ignorant.

Seriously, the better educated people are the better the world is. The better it is for you. DO you think not getting them out of ignorance is likely to get them to realize they need to stop having babies?

I won't point out the irony of a post like your from someone call couchslug.

Your ancestors also believed in goofy crap, yet through the generations you live a better life. Something that woudn't have happened if people besides you didn't take steps to make education available to you.

Now do you get it, jackass?

Hmfff ... (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268682)

And there was me thinking a house of learning and innovation was actually making a positive contribution to the infant mortality rate.

Then I saw the magic words "and filed a patent for", and realised like everything else, it's all about the money. Whatever happened to altruism ?

Re:Hmfff ... (5, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268872)

Actually, even altruists frequently file for patents for their inventions, then they simply allow free and unfettered licensing of the product.

After all, if they don't patent it, someone will. And the control over the invention goes to the first patentholder, not the first inventor.

Re:Hmfff ... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269396)

Well, if the invention is documented to have occurred before the patent is filed, the patent can be squashed - but that takes an expensive lawsuit.

Re:Hmfff ... (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269584)

Yes, it's technically possible to overturn a patent, but an altruist would have to go through a lot of effort and a massive amount of money to gain access to their own invention only to give it away.

If you invent something, patent it immediately, whether you intend to profit from it or not. If you choose to freely share the invention, fine, at least with a patent on file you won't get some troll who jumps claim on you and starts barring you from using your own invention.

Re:Hmfff ... (2, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270450)

Actually, in the U.S., we're still using the "first to invent" system, not the "first to file" system. The rest of the world uses first to file, because it's far easier to determine who was the first filer. The U.S. occasionally investigates making the switch (because first to invent disputes cost the courts a lot of time and money), but hasn't done so yet. And since the inventors are in Colorado, they're subject to U.S. law. All they'd need to do to "prove" first to invent is mail themselves a sealed copy of the plans for their invention and they wouldn't need to file if they didn't want to. That said, once they're going public, it's probably better to file, just to avoid the "first to invent" problems I just mentioned.

Re:Hmfff ... (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270480)

Oops. Responded to this after the page had been unrefreshed for a while, so I didn't see the previous reply. As I noted, you're wrong on the law, but you're right on the practical approach; being right doesn't mean you won't have to spend a ton of money on lawyers to prove you're right.

Re:Hmfff ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32268980)

Slashdot needs to get off of the "All Patents Are Bad" bandwagon. Just because they file a patent means nothing; what they ACTUALLY DO with the patent is the important thing.

Have you even considered the possibility that this patent was filed to protect the invention from others profiting on it? And also as some resume candy for these college students? They could still license the thing for a penny apiece to the Red Cross or whatever; YOU DO NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO JUMP TO SUCH CONCLUSIONS

Re:Hmfff ... (1)

akgooseman (632715) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269476)

If altruism is so important to you, buy their patent and release it to the public domain. Or get off your ass and develop a better alternative.

I'm probably more liberal than most, but I don't get why some people think inventions helping poor or deprived people should simply be given away by the developer/inventor. Developers and inventors have to eat, too.

Re:Hmfff ... (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269604)

Developers and inventors have to eat too ... perhaps, but this is a University we are talking about, where students go to learn. Apparently the first they must learn is how to profit.

but how (0, Offtopic)

hosecoat (877680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268750)

How do you get a dead baby out of a blender?

Natural Selection (1)

Luuseens (1422579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268774)

This is just a musing I have had for a while. The medicine as a field has seen vast improvements over the years, the survivability of a person and average age have boomed. Is this such a good thing, really? For each of us individually, yes. Hell, if not for the incubators and similar early treatments, I would not even be here. What about the bigger picture? Are we, the humanity in general, slowly messing up our gene pool? Take away the healthcare, white and pink pills, and we are more screwed than the people some 100 years ago. Allergies, heart problems, the works. The fact that medicine helps us get to the age of reproduction is, in my humble opinion, not all that helpful in the bigger picture. Don't scald me too harshly - I admit that without advances in medicine I would not have made to my first birthday.

Re:Natural Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32269184)

To say nothing of overpopulation, the actual root cause of global climate change. Blaming it on our technology is a red herring.

Re:Natural Selection (2, Interesting)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269318)

I agree.. I do think we're becoming less physically fit/resilient as a result of modern medicine. The strong and the weak both survive. However, now that we are no longer being selected based on physical fitness, people like Stephen Hawking get to survive, who would not have lasted 1 second in the jungle or 1 year in the dark ages in his current state. I'm hoping our gradual loss of fitness and natural survivability is outweighed by the occasional Stephen Hawkings of world, who should not have survived, but are making great contributions to mankind because they're alive. And then one day, when we can code out the weaknesses out of our genes, it will all be a moot point.

That is, if don't get over-run by the Idiocracy first.. I would say the best evolved "class" of humans for the current environment on Earth (with welfare, etc), is one that can reproduce rapidly and live off of the productivity of others. Maybe somebody needs to set up a "Foundation" somewhere in Antarctica, to protect our advances/knowledge throughout a possible idoicracy/dark-ages (also useful as a refuge against Tripod attacks..)

Reduce Infant Deaths... (1)

Tyr_7BE (461429) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268992)

...and bust ghosts.

Rio de Janeiro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32269088)

While this might well help save lives, I don't think it would make that much difference in a place like Rio de Janeiro, where corruption is rife. A previous governor is being investigated for walking off with US $30 million [terra.com.br] supposedly spent on social programs and his wife, who also governed for a term, swindled another US $38 million [globo.com] that was supposed to have been spent on health. Of course, these numbers are tiny in comparison to the hundreds of millions being cited in oficial investigations into these and other scandals.

Rio is last place on the planet that I would ever recommend anyone spend even $1 on health initatives, unless, through some miracle, the endemic corruption in the governmental structures was somehow fixed.

backpack (2, Funny)

JDHannan (786636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269142)

But how do you get the baby to wear the backpack?

Re:backpack (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270998)

You could just put it on the baby's back. They don't have the necessary dexterity to take it off.

I'd be curious to get a medical opinion on this... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32269778)

Your contemporary incubator, as found inhabiting the NICU, is a pricey and sophisticated beast. Now, I'm sure that the "pricey" part could probably be cut substantially if you said "fuck it, 'medical grade' is worthless if you can't afford it. We'll do this one 'commercial grade' and the vast increase in access will more than compensate for a few deaths due to system faults". However, that still leaves you with the "sophisticated" bit. We are talking supplemental oxygen, temp/humidity control, sterile barriers for infection control, a variety of intravenous delivery tubes(nutrition and various medications), sometimes various sorts of respiratory assistance stuff, and vital signs monitoring.

The trouble is, a lot of those functions aren't simply mechanical, or operable without sophisticated maintenance and expert control. Intravenous anything is infection central without serious attention to sterile technique(and, ideally, lots of 1-time-use components). Supplemental oxygen is fine, if your impoverished hellhole happens to have a source of clean, pure, gasses around. Barring the development of extremely sophisticated diagnostics expert systems, the ability to administer drugs(even if you have the drugs) is largely useless without a doctor to tell you which ones to use. Even basic climate control will, in any humid and unpleasantly tropical environment, probably spend its time spewing spores into kiddo's lungs unless somebody who knows their shit maintains it.

I have to wonder if within, say a year or two of deployment, such a system wouldn't be actively worse(as well as more expensive and less available) than having mom, to whose germs kiddo has already been exposed, scoop kiddo up and start walking. Babies are small, an adult should be able to keep their temperature roughly stable through contact, as well as administering oral nutrition and hydration. Pretty much anything that a parent can't do, neither can technology, without a formidable infrastructure behind it.

It is, undeniably, the case that modern medicine can deliver results far superior to its predecessors for a wide variety of conditions. However, it is hard to just slice off a neat little bit of modern medicine and expect it to work in the field without further input from a vast and interlocking set of systems. And, to the degree that you can do that, one of the parts of the system you slice off is usually a doctor(and most people didn't just slog through Med school to man the village clinic of upper nowhereistan). Medicines are complex chemicals. Most of them lose efficacy unpleasantly quickly outside of environmentally controlled conditions(and good luck if any cutting/recompounding/repackaging/adulteration occurs along the way). Pretty much anything that should be sterile won't be if it has ever left its package, unless it has since been subjected to(often nontrivial) disinfection procedures. Even drugs that still have some punch to them can kill you good and hard if administered incorrectly. Filters go from cleaning fluids to harboring fungi and crap fairly quickly.

Re:I'd be curious to get a medical opinion on this (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271364)

So your argument is poor people are too stupid to learn how to operate a machine?

Re:I'd be curious to get a medical opinion on this (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271906)

No, my argument is that machines can only be operated over time if they exist within range of the supply structure that their technology requires. Poor people are, of necessity, typically quite good generalists. However, they aren't magically good and the downside of poverty and generalism is the unavailability of specialized hardware.

High tech machines generally, and medical apparatus is particularly bad, tend to rely on a huge web of interlocking suppliers, substantial amounts of human and physical capital, and accumulated expertise. If you have those, keeping things running is generally pretty easy(with the exception of specific jobs requiring substantial human capital). If you don't, all the smarts and ingenuity you can muster won't help you very much.

In this case, my argument is that the survival advantages of an incubator over just being held directly against a parent, while nontrivial, rely almost entirely on some quite specialized supplies and spare parts. If you don't have those, you have a problem. If anything, poor people probably have more experience with lousy supply lines and improvising, so they'd probably keep it working longer; but, ultimately, the only way to keep such a device working is to be connected to its supply chain, or to recreate that supply chain from scratch.

There was an analogous case that I'm thinking of, can't find the link offhand. Some charitable NGO was providing wheelchairs to the impoverished and disabled in, I believe, Kenya. They quickly found that the western donor units they could easily get were nearly useless, mostly designed for light-duty use indoors and on paved surfaces, and made largely of plastics and aluminum. They broke quickly, and once they did, they were hard to repair(the recipients couldn't exactly go back to the manufacturer for replacement plastics, and aluminum welding requires inert shield gasses and is somewhat touchy). However, the areas they were interested in had a considerable store of general mechanical know-how, and plenty of locally available blacksmithing and iron/steel welding ability. So, they switched to a more bicycle-derived design, with more robust parts made of metals that could easily be worked with local equipment and expertise, and the problem went away.

That isn't a story about stupidity. Per capita, the locals were probably less helpless than the donors; but a story about how aluminum frames are superior when you can order shield gasses at any welding supply place, and how they aren't where you can't.

Hate to sound grim but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32269930)

Why do we need more people on this planet again?

Better yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32270934)

....why do we need people who can't raise a child conceiving them? And yes, that includes my own 1st world country. Free tubal ligations is the way to go.

Wouldn't this device just make the problem worse? (1)

sigmundur (1599981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270166)

I mean, baby deaths in third world are more part of a solution than a problem. They're actually a good thing. The worst that can happen is that the infant still is damaged by, god knows, lack of oxygen or infection, and would be permanently injured or decapacitated. Then what, one more unproductive person in third world, one more mouth to feed? Completely healthy little fellows starve to death every day, and they survived the first test. Think about how much time and effort, energy and money, is invested in a growing child. Isn't it better that it dies right off the bat, and now after, say, 4 years when his/her parents neglect him/her or fail to provide enough food?

Yep. In addition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32270592)

...we should be offering free tubal ligations to any woman who wants one. Dicks that impregnate are a dime a dozen, by eliminating births we would be doing the global populous a favor. One non-child bearing woman provides many savings throughout the future that far surpasses the cost of a TL.

What poor people can (barely) afford: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32270728)

So that's the way for people who can afford it.

Jane Chen presents us a way to save more than rich people's babies:

n the developing world, access to incubators is limited by cost and distance, and millions of premature babies die each year. TED Fellow Jane Chen shows an invention that could keep millions of these infants warm -- a design that's safe, portable, low-cost and life-saving.
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_chen_a_warm_embrace_that_saves_lives.html

-Arc

Survival of the not-so-fittest... (0, Troll)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270950)

So these dreadfully ill newborns born to people too poor to take care of themselves in the prenatal period, or just cursed with bad genes, will survive.

They will survive with increased risks of disease and deformity, bringing an emotional and financial burden upon their already overstretched parents, in a society with few social resources to care for them.

And then their living older siblings will suffer from decreased parental attention, relationships will be put under strain, and only a few of them will achieve normal adult lives.

So unless these premature babies bring in billions of dollars of social support infrastructure as well, I daresay the outcome would be worse than just letting them die and getting on with making the next one.

Re:Survival of the not-so-fittest... (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271342)

The same could be said for you.

is the life you lead after you turn 40 really going to be productive enough to warrant the cost to develop the technologies that let you live that long?

After your 60? 80?

You should live bu your post and go jump off a tall bridge.

Re:Survival of the not-so-fittest... (1)

wringles (12507) | more than 4 years ago | (#32273296)

So what are you worried about then? "Ill newborns born to people too poor (...) or just cursed with bad genes" may survive, but certainly will not procreate, and therefore those "bad genes" will be excluded from the human genetic pool. If their parents are so overstretched that they can't handle their spawn, their reproductive fitness will certainly be lowered. A society that can't ensure the survival of its members, will eventually be replaced by a fitter society. Why do you think that outcome is worse? Natural selection is merciless. Darwin for teh win!

Profit and public interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32328044)

This invention provides a great answer to anyone arguing against the existence of the patent law [industryweek.com] system as a necessary incentive for spurring innovation. This example of the intersection of patents and the public interest shows that intellectual property law is beneficial not only for profit margins, but also for the public interest.

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