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Open Heart

A freeware artificial heart design
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The design of this artificial heart would be licensed under a license agreement allowing anyone to use, modify, or build it freely.

The idea is that it would be passed around in CAD getting better and better as doctors and scientists learn about it, with an attached collection of files containing all the discussion and debate about it.

When it's good enough someone can build it without having to pay for a license.

When it's REALLY good enough and all the "actually building it" and expensive/difficult material kinks are worked out it should be possible to have it built in hospitals everywhere.

Voice, Oct 06 2011

Google Sketchup: Shed http://sketchup.goo...716cc7079ee9dd07103
Presumably you mean something like this - only a design that someone would be prepared to insert in place of their own, beating heart. Clearly the technology exists to draw up and share designs in a collaborative manner - the tricky part is the legals, and getting people to have sufficient confidence in "open" collaborative design. [zen_tom, Oct 06 2011]

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       I've been thinking of doing the same thing, only in the shed arena.   

       If I take a design off the internet, build it and it falls down in a gale - that's fine, I can build another one - but would I be as happy to experiment with surgery?   

       Probably not.   

       If that's the issue (and it is) how do you propose solving the credibility gap?
zen_tom, Oct 06 2011
  

       //When it's REALLY good enough// How do you know?trial and error is generally not the most practical approach to something life critical. Human trials for life critical devices are not simple.   

       //it should be possible to have it built in hospitals everywhere// Have you ever seen an implantable medical device manufacturing line? Very few hospitals have extensive clean room manufacturing facilities and ETO or gamma sterilization equipment, among other requirements.
MechE, Oct 06 2011
  

       This is true [MechE] but if it becomes a matter of saving lives they will.   

       [ZenTom] Many critical systems are built on Linux...
Voice, Oct 06 2011
  

       [Voice] Linux is extensively tested. Testing medical devices requires clinical trials. Those are expensive, unless you've got a way to make them free as in beer.   

       Currently, the huge cost of clinical trials is borne, on spec, by manufacturers who hope for correspondingly huge profits selling the device. Therefore, the designs are proprietary. Otherwise, competitors could sell the same device for the cost of manufacture, plus profit, while the original developer would have to charge a higher price, to amortize the cost of the trials.
mouseposture, Oct 07 2011
  

       //but if it becomes a matter of saving lives they will//   

       If a hospital has ten million or so to invest, I'd rather they spend it on better diagnostic and surgical equipment (or personnel) than on a manufacturing line. It's far cheaper to buy the few tens or hundreds of implantable devices the hospital will need than to set up their own production line.
MechE, Oct 07 2011
  

       It would be interesting to put the results to some stress tests to see how it would perform.
RayfordSteele, Oct 07 2011
  

       I think it would be more beneficial to apply this to artificial replacement joints instead.
Alterother, Oct 07 2011
  

       // but if it becomes a matter of saving lives they will. //   

       It's not a matter of saving lives. It never is. At hospitals, the chief concern is saving money.   

       On the other hand, major hospitals often have a surplus surgical theater that would be an excellent starting-point for building a clean-room, and assembly-line production would not be necessary. A single CAD fabricator unit would meet the hospital's demand.
Alterother, Oct 07 2011
  

       [Alter] A surgical theater is not a clean room, and doesn't begin to approach the standards for one. Surgical theaters depend on point/time of use sterilization, that won't work for manufacturing.   

       In addition, unless your system is made of a single material (and probably even then), you are looking at multiple CNC systems, in addition to multiple finishing processes for each component. This ignores any electronics involved, the assembly process, and testing. (I worked on a testing line for implantable medical devices, the sale price was somewhere around $1.5 million and it should have been higher, we lost money developing it at that)
MechE, Oct 07 2011
  

       First time I met Robert Jarvik, he was showing off an assortment of calves with artificial hearts. One in particular had gone 180 days, and was getting to be a sizable animal. Stress-test for the heart to keep up.   

       Failure = steak.
lurch, Oct 07 2011
  

       A surgical theater isn't a clean room, I know--but it's a good place to start building one. And as for multiple CNC fabs, cram 'em all in there. My only point was that, if these artificial joints and organs are to be made to spec on-site, the demand at even a very large hospital wouldn't require a huge manufacturing facility. They still wouldn't go for it, but it's a nice idea and not as complicated as it seems.
Alterother, Oct 07 2011
  
      
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