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Vietnam Medic Makes Homemade Endoscope

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 9 years ago | from the do-it-yourself dept.

Biotech 430

Davian writes "As reported by the BBC a Vietnamese doctor has managed to create an endoscope using an apparatus consisting of lenses and a webcam, linked to a Pentium 4. Total cost of extra hardware - less than $1000." The doctor plans to also assist other local hospitals that are facing similar budgetary contraints.

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Ouch (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13377995)

I just hope that this webcam is a little smaller than the one sitting on top of my monitor.

Re:Ouch too good to resist (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378019)

is that a ballcam he's holding in the pics?
"'scuse me while I lube this up.This is gonna hurt a bit"
Is he a proctologist or what?

Re:Ouch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378027)

I just hope that this webcam is a little smaller than the one sitting on top of my monitor.

One of his patients. [goat.cx]

Pah... (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13377996)

$1000? For all the good that bit of cheap kit is going to do, he might as well shove it up his arse.

Re:Pah... (1)

tehmorph (844326) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378003)

I thought that was the whole point of the cheap kit? :)

Re:Pah... (1)

Octorian (14086) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378244)

Technically, that's what a colonoscope is for. The endoscope is more commonly used to look into the stomach.

Re:Pah... (2, Funny)

Parelius (892100) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378096)

I just hope he's using something more sleek than my Logitech Quickcam for his ass-probe, or there's going to be a lot of pain and suffering in Vietnam....

Re:Pah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378144)

the scope itself costs $800 which leaves $200 for a pc and webcam and optics to attach the scope to the webcam.

note he has to buy the actual scope bit.

Well... (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378227)

After all it is a dirty hack

Re:Pah... (5, Interesting)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378228)

I've got some friends in the medical industry, and it's seriously bloated financially - this is probably the same hardware that costs $100,000, but without the label on it. One company I know of who builds X-Ray machines charges $500 for a "specially formatted" floppy disk to be used with their equipment. A floppy disk!! You can make your own by simply using 'dd', but doctors are too dumb to know this. It's not just the patients who get screwed, paying $8 for an asprin - it's the entire industry. This is cool, one definite way to say "shove it up uranus", and have almost identical equipment as you would have paid otherwise.

Yes, but.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13377998)

Will the communists take it over?

Cool (-1, Redundant)

Exile1 (746114) | more than 9 years ago | (#13377999)

Intresting this could be useful in poor areas.

Re:Cool (0)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378030)

Athoret from the planet France, spoke to the press today. He stated that the union of ass-probing industries will not stand for allowing these home build devices to destroy their industry. His union will file for a complete ban on these devices. "We're working hard to feed our children, how can we allow the action of such inresposible people to damage our industry?" stated the angry Francian.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378287)

Actually it could be useful in poor LIGHTED areas.

First cubic polynomial post (1, Funny)

polynomial_zeroes (908213) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378000)

Pentium 4
Less than 1000 dollars
1 cubic polynomial post

4, 1000 and 1 are the zeroes of

x^3 - 1005x^2 + 5004x - 4000
--polynomial_zeroes [slashdot.org]

MOD PARENT UP! (-1, Offtopic)

aranbanter (909468) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378004)

This guy is hilarious!

yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378001)

That's thinking with your a..

Will this run on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378005)

And more importantly, will they use this new technology on Bill Gates?

Then we could certainly tell him to shove windows up his ass.

I can see one way of making it cheaper (4, Insightful)

vidnet (580068) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378006)

"Using the Windows operating system, we have programs to record the images and put them in a database of patients."

That's half the expense right there.

Re:I can see one way of making it cheaper (1)

TheLogster (617383) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378048)

But....

The most readily availble to develop for, considering the guys background.

Re:I can see one way of making it cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378135)

"In total I had to buy only the scope, which is about $800," Dr Huy told the BBC World Service programme Go Digital.
I hate winblows as much as the next guy but at least read the story before posting FUD.

Re:I can see one way of making it cheaper (1)

juhanio (770843) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378147)

propably he doesn't own Windows license and has downloaded Windows from p2p network.

It's Vietnam! (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378185)

They are socialists, they just buy one copy and share!

Come on. He probably pirated windows like everyone (1)

ksjfhdsalf (892941) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378288)

If dude, can wire up an endoscope from spare parts he can pirate windows.

of course it's easier to instal and use linux anyways.

Ehh? (3, Interesting)

domipheus (751857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378007)

This is not meant to be a flame or troll activity, but surely if they wanted to keep the costs down they would not be using windows? Seems simple enough.

I'm also feeling quite odd about the pentium 4 ad statement there. It is connected to a computer, they can all do graphics manipulation these days. Seems we are still in the 'omgwtf pentium' age. Using another cpu would bring the price down yet further!

Re:Ehh? (5, Insightful)

4nd3r5 (732488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378021)

RTFA.. in the beginning he had problems installing programs on the PC, and he had to ask a guy for help... don't you think that it would hinder progress of his project if he had to use linux, and find another guy to help him... im not to sure there are to many tech savy people hanging around a region in vietnam, where they can't afford a 30 k endoscope.

off topic.. sort of...

i know a guy who has an endoscope in his attick, thats not beeing used.. isn't this world nice and unfair..

Re:Ehh? (1)

domipheus (751857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378059)

not off topic at all, the article centers around the fact it was done for so little. Thats all i'm saying... And yes the computer was not part of the price, it's just odd.

Re:Ehh? (5, Informative)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378025)

read the article. the only thing they 'bought' was the scope itself, which cost $800 .. i'm sure you can read between the lines on that one.

Re:Ehh? (1)

domipheus (751857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378038)

I know dude. But think about it - if all the hospital machines are running windows too, then boy thats expensive for a place supposedly in financial strain. And it makes the P4 comment all the more stupid.

Re:Ehh? (1)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378070)

right, coz, umm, vietnam is the last bastion of fully-paid software licenses...

Re:Ehh? (1)

domipheus (751857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378188)

Ok, its one of the highest piracy areas on earth, but was there not some sort of deal microsoft brought to the table for lowering the fees there? There was a story a few weeks ago on it. Most likely the result of this [slashdot.org] .

Re:Ehh? (0)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378073)

Can you say "bootleg" boys and girls?
There. Good, I knew you could do it!

usual modding practices (0, Offtopic)

domipheus (751857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378084)

Anyone care to explain why this is modded down to troll, when it is nothing of the sort? Whos got the itchy trigger fingers today then.

Re:usual modding practices (2, Insightful)

dunc78 (583090) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378296)

Because once again, it makes it look like the initial cost of the software is the only thing that determines the total cost of ownership. I am a fairly computer literate person, and every time I mess around with Linux there is some stumbling block that prevents me from doing what I am trying to do and I then have to spend hours googling or in chat rooms trying to figure out what the hell I need to do. Like it or not, accept it or not, I usually don't have to do this when running Windows, generally things just work. Now, I am not trying to bash Linux either, I run dual boot because I am interesting in learning and the reality is that there is a steep learning curve involved with Linux. And especially in the professional world, time is money.

Re:Ehh? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378240)

A 100 US$ Windows license is not the main cost-reducing factor in getting a 30.000 US$ system down to $1.000 US$.

Cool stuff. (4, Insightful)

Randseed (132501) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378013)

Until Windows eats his data. (Sorry. Obligatory bullshit Windows flame.)

No seriously, this is some cool stuff and it's a creative way to deal with the problem. I'm curious how big the webcam in question is, since the article didn't really say unless I missed it on two read-throughs. (Early in the morning, you see.) Considering that I'm about to go out and do the same thing using $100,000+ in hardware today on a couple of patients, it's really interesting because this thing probably provides pictures that are almost as good, if not just as good.

Re:Cool stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378116)

Simple, if Windows eats the data, use the Endoscope to catch it on the way out

Re:Cool stuff. (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378222)

"Until Windows eats his data. (Sorry. Obligatory bullshit Windows flame.)"

Then BSOD... eat shit and die.

Sorry, that one was just too easy of a setup to pass up. ;)

Freud and fixations (was: Re:Cool stuff.) (4, Insightful)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378243)

I'm curious how big the webcam in question is, since the article didn't really say unless I missed it on two read-throughs.

Boy, wouldn't Freud have a field day with you lot! I'm of the perception that the webcam stays 'high and dry' on top of the PC (or somewhere else close by) and doesn't go anywhere near your moth^H^H^H^Hbutt. Else why would he be tinkering with optics and buying an $800 probe?

I'm thinking the endo probe does the dirty work so to speak, and the system of optics that he's come up with makes the other end of the probe play nicely with a common-or-garden webcam.

Not withstanding that 'endoscopes' can be used on both 'ends', I wanna know why in the picture accompanying TFA, he appears to be shoving the endoscope down the back of the vict^H^H^H^Hpatient's kneck?!

This is what patent law is for (3, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378014)

Tomorrow some american company will sue him (and this will cost them a LOT more than $30000 * number of provinces in vietnam up front).

Gotta love this world we live in. Can't have people without money cured too, because if we do cure them, why would people with money pay for treatment ?

Just a thought

Re:This is what patent law is for (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378034)

American company in the US. Doctor in Vietnam.

Go figure.

Re:This is what patent law is for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378049)

The American Army is getting quite good at protecting American industrial interests overseas. How about "Vietnam II: The Rematch"?

Re:This is what patent law is for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378092)

The American Army is getting quite good at protecting American industrial interests overseas.

No, the American army is good at getting its ass kicked by a ragtag bunch of determined locals

"How about "Vietnam II: The Rematch"?"
its been branded Iraq, and its going just as well as part 1 did [cnn.com] (ie. losing)

Re:This is what patent law is for (4, Interesting)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378075)

That's the part I've never understanded about the US. On one hand the US is ultra-religious. But on the other hand helping the poor is totaly unamerican (socialism is baaaaaaaad). Now what I don't get is this: is the US hypocritical (a lot of talking, but noone really meaning what they say) or is this a case of a splitten personality? (radical differences in oppinion)
This isn't meant as flamebait or anti-americanism or something. It's just strange that a society that holds on to religion in so many ways, seems to disagree with a major portion of it.

Re:This is what patent law is for (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378127)

The problem is that helping the poor (mentioned about a thousand times in the bible) isn't quite as polarizing as, say, fighting homosexuality (mentioned once or twice in the bible).

Helping to empower the have-nots takes power away from the haves, while hot-blooded emotionalism and fearmongering does the oppoite. Which do you think business/spiritual/political leaders want?

Re:This is what patent law is for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378165)

Ever read pTerry's Small Gods? America is like that, but substitute Jesus for Om.

Give a man an endoscope ... (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378213)

... and he can cure polyps and ulcers. Teach a man to build his own endoscope, and you can sell him the bits, let him cure polyps and ulcers, and sue him for IP infringement!

But hey, what would I know. I still laugh at all the /. libertarians - right-wing and accelerating rapidy towards a sort of political event horizon as far the rest of the world is concerned - who get rabidly fanatical over Linux, as nice a piece of applied socialism as the world has ever seen...

Personally, I vote for hypocritical, with a good dash of arrogant ignorance thrown in.

Re:This is what patent law is for (5, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378214)

That's the part I've never understanded about the US. On one hand the US is ultra-religious. But on the other hand helping the poor is totaly unamerican (socialism is baaaaaaaad). Now what I don't get is this: is the US hypocritical (a lot of talking, but noone really meaning what they say) or is this a case of a splitten personality? (radical differences in oppinion)
This isn't meant as flamebait or anti-americanism or something. It's just strange that a society that holds on to religion in so many ways, seems to disagree with a major portion of it.


Part of that is probably the roots of America's predominant religion - US Christianity stems from Puritan and other sects where being poor wasn't a sin but sloth was - hard work was a virtue (which fit in nicely with what was needed to survive in a foreign land)and neighbors helped each other through hard times when luck, not sloth, caused someone to fall onto hard times. Coupled with America's belief that you can triumph through hard work provides an American view of charity - help people get on their feet but don't let them stay on the dole forever - hence work fare vs welfare.

Americans and America are generally generous people - in the context of how they view charity, which is to say not better or worse, but different.

As a side note - America's disdain for socialism is rooted in the innate distrust of government and a belief in the "American Dream." American's don't like taxes (ask the English about that)so establishing a broad social net funded by high tax rates is very unlikely.

a little more then that (-1, Offtopic)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378242)

Yes, what you say is true, but there are more examples of hypocrisy. The US is the world largest producer of porn, with a turnover bigger then hollywood. Even with this huge turnover, the supply of actors is still far larger than the demand. But you can't show "Saving private Ryan" on TV because people say "Fuck" when they get a bullet in their stomach. And then the Jackson nipple slip. By God were we Europeans laughing our asses off!

Re:This is what patent law is for (5, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378226)

I'm not american but german, but I've spent a lot of time in the US and believe you (and many other europeans) are misunderstanding some of the facts:

Americans are not opposed to helping the poor on a personal level. In fact, americans spent a lot more (absolute and as % of GDP) on charity than europeans. In my experience, americans also have a culture of doing volunteer work to an extend that doesn't exist in europe. For example, I've seen a complete new school building be built by the student's parents. Some gave money, some gave machines, some did the work.

What is different is the role of government in charity: while europeans see helping the poor mainly as a job of the state, americans do it themselves. If you look at the financial structure of shelters, soup kitchens but also museums and operas, you'll find that they are mostly financed by governments in europe, while they rely heavily on individual's contributions in the US.

So it's nearsighted to say that Americans don't want to help the poor. They simply don't want the government involved, want to do it on their own terms and want it to be seen as what it is, namely charity, and not as some god-given right of other people over one's own money.

Now, this doesn't mean there aren't some seriously crack-smocking right-wing jesus-nuts whose actions and words don't match. But that's another story.

Obligatory Lenny Bruce (-1, Offtopic)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378238)

Moses and Jesus are standing at the rear of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Cardinal Spellman was extolling the virtues of love and giving and forgiveness.

"And Jesus was confused. He had just come through Spanish Harlem and he wondered what 40 Puerto Ricans were doing living in one room and this guy had a ring on him that was worth 8 grand."

(What is in quotes is the only part that is actual Lenny Bruce language)

Re:This is what patent law is for (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378248)

As an observation, there seems to be a lot of support for faith based aid organisations at the moment in the US. The theory seems to be that your church can ensure that only the deserving receive the assistance.

As a non church member, I don't know how effective this is in practise.

Re:This is what patent law is for (0, Offtopic)

OSXCPA (805476) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378249)

Saw a piece on the BBC recently covering just this. Americans do a lot more private giving than public. *I* give to charity, but I don't trust my government (I am an American, born and raised) to use my tax money for charity because they are incredibly bad at it. In the US, our congress (directly elected reps. of the citizenry) are subject to lobbying - anyone in the US can directly approach our reps and ask for something, usually money, which the rep can then obligingly provide by inserting the appropriate language into the next bill to cross his/her desk. Such an amendment is then permanent (unless the President excercises the 'line item veto' - unlikely) and passes with the legislation. This is why you see funding for a public park in BuFu, Iowa inserted into a defense spending bill. Guess who does more 'lobbying - individuals or large corporations with offices in Washington, DC? Large 'charities' also lobby our congress, just like private corporations do. I would rather donate directly, rather than trusting our government (especially the present administration) to use funds appropriately. Stem cell research, anyone? (Not charity, but same concept.) Americans do give - we just don't trust our government to do it.

We also afford preferential tax treatment to charities and offer tax incentives for citizens to donate.

BTW - the US is not ultra-religious, we are just big and diverse. The fundy nut-jobs have monopolized the press recently, courtesy of their progress in national politics. These things come in cycles, especially here. Relax - it could be worse, they could have nukes... wait a minute...

Re:This is what patent law is for (2, Insightful)

kermitthefrog917 (903403) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378334)

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day... teach a man to fish... he eats for a lifetime. Likewise... raise taxes and give massive unemployment benefits... sure... it helps the poor... but wheres the progress?

America is a land of work. we get made fun of because we work too much. Likewise, we make fun of europe because they are lazy and dont work enough.

a good friend of mine here in Belgium (yeah.. im expat) has had it with socialism.... one of his employees is currenty "sick"... under Belgian law, a worker is entitled to 14 days paid sick leave. This worker is out 14 days... comes back for the 15th day, and then takes another 14 days leave...

can anyone tell me how a situation like that under socialism benefits society?

My personal belief is that rather than just providing for the poor, we should fight for their righhts and abiity to work and provide for themselves.

and as far as religious groups helping the poor, I know my church donates a considerable ammount to foriegn aid. (The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter Day Saints) one such "Teach a Man to Fish" is the Perpetual Education Fund: a fund established through donations which allows adults in third world countries to take out low interest loans in order to pursue an education.

Overall, for me I feel that through my church I can contirbute more to help the world than a socialist government would.

Re:This is what patent law is for (0, Troll)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378251)

It's actually very simple: If you're poor, then it's either your own fault or god just hates you. In both cases, you don't deserve any help.

Re:This is what patent law is for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378299)

"But on the other hand helping the poor is totaly unamerican (socialism is baaaaaaaad)."

Main Entry: socialism
Pronunciation: 'sO-sh&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Re:This is what patent law is for (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378310)

Great! Now can you look up "You totally missed the fucking joke, idiot?"

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378181)

I kind of doubt a USA company has patents in Vietnam on camera's with lenses attached, and if they had, I *really* doubt they'd find a lawyer to agree with them.

$30,000 versus $1,000 (4, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378017)

truth be told, that $30k price-tag is mostly profit for the med-co's currently stiffing american hospitals out of cheap, quality, medical equipment.

in vietnam they have no such compunction. they don't mind building things which work, for cheap, and not screwing their customers for every last penny they can ..

i say, great. american medical 'prowess' is propped up by insanely disproportionate profits. i daresay a few public hospitals in detroit could stand to DIY the ol' endoscope too, and save a few bucks for those AIDS drugs they've gotta stock up on in order to be 'qualified' for "Federal Support".

sheesh. no big surprise that things are cheaper outside of the worlds largest continent full of greedy, selfish pigs ..

Re:$30,000 versus $1,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378047)

FYI: Asia is the world's largest continent at 17,300,000 square miles (44,806,812 square kilometers). If you're considering Europe and Asia combined as Eurasia, then it's the largest continent at 21 million square miles (55 million km2).

Re:$30,000 versus $1,000 (1)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378078)

Eurasia, as a continent, is not full of greedy, selfish pigs.

North America, as a continent, is. Case in point: charging hospitals $30,000 for something which costs approximately $1000 to make, elsewhere ..

Re:$30,000 versus $1,000 (-1, Flamebait)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378104)

in vietnam they have no such compunction. they don't mind building things which work, for cheap, and not screwing their customers for every last penny they can ..

Which country would you prefer to live in?

Re:$30,000 versus $1,000 (1)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378305)

Which country would you prefer to live in?

having lived in both the US and S-E Asia, I'd say S-E Asia, no question about it. the so-called 'creature comforts' of the US are a huge trap. nothing could be more soul-sucking than big city life in [insert generic american metropolis here] ..

Re:$30,000 versus $1,000 (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378107)

truth be told, that $30k price-tag is mostly profit for the med-co's currently stiffing american hospitals out of cheap, quality, medical equipment.

I work for an American MRI manufacturer, testing magnets that are sold to hospitals for around $1,000,000 a pop.

The magnets are labelled "Made in USA" but are in fact only assembled here, using components from China, Mexico, and Burma... very very cheap components. All told, it costs the company less than $10,000 in materials, and around $200,000 in labor and energy to assemble and test each magnet, including liquid helium costs. The FDA would kick up a shitstorm if they knew what we were putting in these supposedly "top quality" devices. But so far, we've only sent in special runs of our systems using premium components for their evaluation.

Of course, these magnets are barely passing their tests. Some aren't, but we are expected to pass them regardless so our revenue stream keeps flowing in the right direction.

It should be obvious why I'm posting as an Anonymous Coward. Now you hopefully have an even clearer picture of what the healthcare business is all about. (Hint: It rhymes with funny, but isn't.)

S P R O I I I N G !!! (2, Funny)

maharg (182366) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378020)

nurse ! pass the duct tape !

Where was this when I was networking the house?! (4, Interesting)

Riddleshome (702246) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378022)

This would have be REALLY useful when I networked the house - there were a couple of snags that if I could have seen round the bend... Ah well, what's wrong with a few more holes in the walls...

Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378023)

Puh-leez! The p0rn makers have been shoving cameras in orifices for years now. How is this new?

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378111)

The p0rn makers have been shoving cameras in orifices for years now. How is this new?

What sort of porn do you watch? I usually don't see an internal view of an orifice.... unless it's anime

Since when is this an inventive use of a webcam? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378028)

I mean, c'mon! Webcams have never been used for anything other than looking at peoples' private parts.

Its the thoughts thats important not the parts (3, Insightful)

Qem (889694) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378035)

A couple of people have pointed out that not using windows would probably make it cheaper. Don't forget the guy isn't a computer expert. Its probably all that he already knows how to use. I think that the steps used here could be important for helping to lower the medical expenses in other countries. Its probably possible to make the equipment cheaper etc, but don't forget that its no use using a different system - if you don't know how to use it, or don't know the difference between different companies. Personally I'm wondering how effective the equipment is, its probably better than nothing, but how much can it detect, how invasive is it in comparison and when would it likely to be used.

Re:Its the thoughts thats important not the parts (1)

Redwin (805980) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378140)

Total cost of extra hardware - less than $1000.

Whether it is windows or not doesn't change the pricetag stated in the summary, considering the budget he is mentioning is for extra hardware, not the overall cost of the system.

Sweet Jesus (5, Funny)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378037)

That's one webcam link which will not be slashdotted.

For once, the goatse trolls may well be on-topic.

Re:Sweet Jesus (1)

scsirob (246572) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378279)

Ehh.. Up yours?!?

In Vietnam... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378039)

In Soviet Russia, endoscope sees YOU!
In Korea, only the old people use endoscopes.
In Vietnam, you put it up other people's asses!

the most important part (3, Interesting)

gotpaint32 (728082) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378042)

The most important part of an endoscope, that being the scope still needs to be bought. Now if the guy made the actual scope and not just the webcam adapter for the scope, then that would be truly impressive. once again i feel misled by slashdot because the title suggests the guy actually built an endoscope out of a webcam. Shame on you slashdot

Re:the most important part (2, Insightful)

domipheus (751857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378065)

Agree with you fully - but it is mostly the bbc's fault, they are always overblowing their stories.

It is nice to read the articles (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378138)

"In total I had to buy only the scope, which is about $800," Dr Huy told the BBC World Service programme Go Digital.

Re:the most important part (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378270)

Hey, I'm still wondering why an ex-Vietnam field medic is worried about making an endoscope. Oh, he's a doctor you say, not a veteran of the Vietnam war?

Maybe next time the submitter can change more than one word of the stories title. ("DIY" became "Homemade"). From now on can we put stories through TurnItIn [turnitin.com] ?

Safety and health (3, Interesting)

bibi-pov (819943) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378076)

Ok, he managed to make a cheap endoscope. That's good and bad at the same time. Because a endoscope's purpose is to be inserted inside your body, especially inside supposedly sick bodies, it has to be steril so as to avoid contamination (AIDS anyone ?). Using an expensive endoscope (like in developped countries) forbids to use it once and dispose it. So endoscope are cleaned the best one can do without damaging it and re-used. This can lead to contaminations (in fact it's a cause for blood bank to refuse your blood). That's why a cheapper endoscope could be great for developped countries (on-time usage). But on the opposite it's not so great for second/third-world contries because I doubt a webcam is designed to withstand the heat, uv, and/or chemical used to clean the expensive endoscope, nor will it be disposed after use because cheap isn't there. This could be a major health problem. So I'm somewhat skeptical on the path taken by this doctor.

Re:Safety and health (3, Informative)

Scaz7 (179078) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378103)

Read the article,

All he purchased was the scope, the only thing he did was attach it to a webcam and a pc,

Read outside the box and you might learn something

Re:Safety and health (1)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378134)

Well, thank goodness that bamboo is so plentiful, and cheap, in Vietnam. That makes 98% of the endoscope probe disposable, not unlike wooden tongue depressors. The other 2% can be disassembled and autoclaved.

Re:Safety and health (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378175)

An endoscope condom solves most fears. Loose prions and particles off a dentists drill, along with a office coffee cups are probabably a bigger risk, if bird flu or sars or msra (British NHS)does not get you first. Surprising the Chinese don't yet make a cheaper model endoscope(they probably do), as they sure have the market covered with stainless steel scissors.
Then we have a webcam in a tablet that can be swallowed. The only reason they are not used more widely is endoscopy is cheaper,and you can attach tools to clip off polyps and look for DU related cancers, ie Reagan. Lets hope the other gets the royal treatment.

Re:Safety and health (1)

GhostFaceP (909316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378239)

sorry... what? you mean as opposed to them buying one for $30,000 that they'll dispose of? (!) not to mention the fact the the actual scope isn't made from webcam... bah... who said skeptics were a good thing?

open equipment? (3, Interesting)

inmate (804874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378089)

i really think there is great potential for good works here.

a good friend who is a midwife, is going to work in rural portugual next year, and will be involved in opening a community-based birth-house. (sorry, i don't know what a geburtshaus is in english)
but some of the equipment that they need, such as a CTG machine, cost upward of euro2500!
i've seen this machine, and it's nothing special. but it has lots of dedicated equipment that could easily be replaced by generic computer equipment.

this also got me wondering about creating some sort of open DIY medical equipment repository.
seeing this article, i can well believe that a lot of people could benefit from such openly available research!

Re:open equipment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378169)

"this also got me wondering about creating some sort of open DIY medical equipment repository."

I'm sure that a lot of medical equipment is relatively simple, and could be made a lot cheaper. But here in the US at least, "medical equipment" sounds synonymous with "insanely high legal liability". Microchip vendors almost always say in their datasheets that their chips are not intended for critical medical apparatus. Suppose this guy sells a few endoscopes to hospitals here, and suppose a doctor using one misdiagnoses a person with cancer as healthy. Even if the endoscope is not at fault, who really wants to defend themselves in court, risking a multimillion dollar verdict against them by some witless jury?

There's plenty of interest in "open source" hardware (particularly since so many manufacturers are incompetent at writing drivers)...but medical equipment wouldn't be my first target.

I wonder how surgically sterile... (3, Insightful)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378115)

...his equipment is.

    It doesn't sound like he purchased finely machined parts constructed out of surgical steel and other surgery rated equipment.

  With that in mind. I am unsure if I would want to be the first person this is used on and I definately wouldn't want to be the third, fourth fifth or last person this machine is used on...

buttpilot.sourceforge.net (1)

martalli (818692) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378207)

It sounds like he actually purchased the physical endoscope. That's the part that goes inside...you know what. Only the endoscope needs to be sterilized. Everything else is outside. (Don't put your laptop in an autoclave!)

The camera goes on the outside. In many places, there is now camera, and instead the doc looks into the other side...however, having a camera is easier on your back...plus it might help keep the lawyers off your back...

You see that the cost here is from the combination of proprietary hardware and software for the endoscope that ups the prices $29,000. I agree that using OSS for the OS and software might be a better solution, but that will probably take some interest from the WHO, a philanthropist like Mark Shuttleworth, or maybe a couple OSS coders with some interest in putting together some of the OSS software in a workable setup. You could probably fiddle with some of the available videoo software and make a live/install special Linux distro for the purpose.

I can see it on now: buttpilot.sourceforge.net

Re:I wonder how surgically sterile... (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378225)

Can you even buy surgical steel anymore?

So Now... (3, Funny)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378145)

You can seriously tell someone to stick Windows up their ass! And, those that do the work can take this job and shove it.

Here's the stupid thing... (2, Interesting)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378153)

I'd put down my life savings right now that says US hospitals (even the poorest and most destitute) will continue to buy the $30,000 one.

That's what's wrong with the US healthcare system. "Why do something cheap when we can spend even more money for something just as useful?"

Not very surprising (4, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378170)

I'm working in the medical device business, and a large part of our expenses is for stuff like clinical studies, documentation to comply with FDA regulations and such. Also, the relatively low numbers tend to make manufacturing more expensive than for mass-manufactured stuff.

Last but not least, the market seems to readily accept the high prices manufacturers are demanding. In fact, an ex-colleague told me a story about a surgical instrument that failed in the market because of a too low price. Doctors did not trust that "cheapshit" stuff. After a rebranding and raising of the price, the same instrument did fine in the market. Expect management to happily take advantage of such thinking.

Overall, I'm not surprised that a professional endoscope costs 30.000, even if something almost (I suspect Dr Nguyen Phuoc Huy made a few compromises in the used materials) equivalent can be built at 1000 in materials.

Okay guys, open source it, Linux it, DO it. (2, Insightful)

crovira (10242) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378183)

How cheaply can it be done for?

It should be able to take images from a wide range of input (devices, resolutions, color corrections, user selectable, and NOT from a config list requiring rebooting, if you please,) feeding something like The Gimp for image manipulation, in real time.

Guy's in Vietnam and had no support issues with M$ We can do better for cheaper.

High School Notes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13378194)

From the article, quote Nguyen:
I even had to revisit my physics notebooks from high school
I hope doodles of sportscars and declarations of love for the girl who sits at the front were useful in the design of his endoscope.

Endoscopic Image Capture (3, Interesting)

Centurix (249778) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378211)

I was the designer and developer of a major endoscopic image capture system here in Australia for a company who sold thousands of copies in the UK, US and parts of Asia. A lot of the difficult work at the time wasn't actually capturing the images and storing them, that was relatively easy, VfW did a lot of the work on most video capture boards, even though it didn't give you as much control over the video overlay as you really wanted. Some video cards provided MCI drivers which gave much more control, zoom, pan etc. Like the Matrox capture cards. All video endoscopic systems provided some sort of analog video output, composite, S-Video, RGB. The major systems were Olympus, Fujitsu and Pentax with a few minor players in specialty endoscopic fields.

The hard part was actually remotely triggering the capture on the PC. We initially tried to get the specialists to tell a PC operator to press a button, but they just got frustrated with the whole procedure.

Our next thing was to use the buttons on the scopes themselves (the flexible scopes have two dials for lateral movement and usually one or more buttons which can be assigned to various functions on each unit) so we slowly begged and borrowed one of each model of each type of scope unit so we could create interfaces to plug into them.

Myself and a colleage researched over 100 units, measured signals, found suppliers of connectors, found manufacturers who could copy proprietary connectors (and there were about 30 different types of custom connectors in the end) and then wrote the code.

We started using it for upper endoscopy and colonoscopies, but it was sold for ERCP's, MRI/PET/CAT scanning, rigid scope procedures and also for overhead cameras in surgery.

It's an interesting field, I personally sat in on over 200 procedures to test the software, colonoscopies being the worst. Not great a procedure. I'm glad they give people drugs to make them forget that 15 minutes...

Re:Endoscopic Image Capture (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378224)

oh, and just to let you know, by making his own head-end for the scope, he's saved himself about $70,000 dollars US...

Need scope, go Airforce (4, Interesting)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378266)

A Dutch F16 technician ones showed me the boroscope they were using to check the insides of the engine. He told me that a couple of weeks before a surgeon of the local hospital had been cursing when he saw the scope. The surgeon had been requesting a boroscope for three years already and couldn't get the funds allocated and here the local AFB had a couple on hand.

True Hacking (1)

Chab1549 (764118) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378275)

ingenuity and tech , respect to the man ..

Gives new meaning... (5, Funny)

havaloc (50551) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378280)

...to Intel Inside.

Slightly offtopic weak troll (-1, Offtopic)

BillsPetMonkey (654200) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378281)

What value has been added to this article by posting it here on /.? The BBC site covered this story yesterday, and I'm sorry to say that "Davian" has not added any new insight, comment or opinion other than simply saying "Here's a link to something else". In fact the opener "Davian writes" is a blatant falsehood. He's written nothing at all!

Am I missing the point that Davian has *found* the story? On a public new site? Is Davian's "discovery" newsworthy?

I have to wonder if this is the more likely direction for slashdot - simply aggregating other sites' content and piggybacking on their journalism. If it is, then there's a lot of sites that will soon look very much the same.

So, a constructive suggestion (in a weak attempt to dodge being modded a troll) - either add value to the article or don't post it here.

Especially if it's been published on a public news site - that makes it old news

It's the FDA that adds the costs (1)

scattol (577179) | more than 9 years ago | (#13378326)

Blame the extra cost on the FDA. Manufacturing medical equipement isn't a matter of putting white box parts in the shipping carton.

Both the design process and the manufacturing process must be highly documented and tracable for the equipement to be allowed for sales in the US. All this red tape takes time and that costs money.

We could be complaining about this, but when you consider that poorly performing medical equipement can harm or even kill the patient (and has in the past as in the well documented case of the XRay machine), it's a good thing that some process is in the loop to prevent dangerous, or even just plain risky equipement on the market.
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