Winning Design Of The Affordable Dialysis Prize Can Fit In A Suitcase And Costs Less Than 1000 USD

According to The Lancelet, somewhere between 5 and 10 million people in the world need dialysis right now for terminal kidney failure, but only 2.5 million have access to it, mostly due to cost – the rest will die an unpleasant death. The news gets worse: the number of people on dialysis is set to rise to 5 million by the year 2030, and most of the increase will be in developing countries.

A year on dialysis costs about US$90 000 per person in the USA, and many thousands of dollars in low-income countries—an unaffordable price in places where the annual health spend might be just a few hundred dollars per citizen.

The first dialysis machine was invented in 1943 and apparently since that time not much has changed in the design of it nor were there any real attempts at making the machine more accessible and affordable. And a dialysis machine these days can cost more than $10 000 each. And top of it these dialysis machines need to be attached to elaborate water purification systems based on reverse osmosis which also often cost at least $10 000 again. And of course the way the machines work are that most of the time the dialysis machine can only be used in a hospital setting or in homes that have all the needed infrastructure.

To truly make a dialysis machine accessible and affordable that can also be used in infrastructure poor areas, three of the leading players in global kidney health have joined together to create a world-wide competition, with a prize of US$100,000, to design the world’s first truly affordable dialysis machine. The prize is sponsored by The George Institute, the International Society of Nephrology and the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology with the support of the Farrell Family Foundation.

The Affordable Dialysis Prize encouraged inventors around the world to develop an innovative dialysis system which works just as well as a conventional approach, but runs off solar power, can purify water from any source, has low running costs and can be sold for less than US$ 1000.

The winning design by engineer Vincent Garvey is so compact it can fit into a small suitcase, and uses a standard solar panel to power a highly efficient, miniature distiller capable of producing pure water from any source.

Source: Affordable Dialysis Machine Prize Winner,  http://www.md-devices.com/
Source: Affordable Dialysis Machine Prize Winner, http://www.md-devices.com/

So, how does the winning design work? According to the Prize distributor:

Vincent Garvey’s winning dialysis system recognises the critical barrier to affordable dialysis is the lack of cheap, sterile water in countries where the electricity supply is unreliable and water sources may be contaminated. Using a standard solar panel, it heats water taken from any local source to make steam, which is used not only to sterilise the water but also to fill empty peritoneal dialysis (PD) bags under sterile conditions. PD is potentially much cheaper than haemodialysis, but in poor countries the cost of transporting thousands of foreign manufactured two litre bags of PD fluid to remote locations can make it prohibitive.

The winning entry will be just as useful for short term dialysis for acute kidney failure, supporting children and young adults whose kidneys have stopped working temporarily due to infection or dehydration, and for whom just a few days of dialysis can be lifesaving. The design also offers detailed plans on how the system could be used for affordable haemodialysis, the more common type of dialysis.

A truly wonderful frugal innovation! Thank you Mr Vincent Garvey. The world needs more people like you.

January – June 2016 Are The Hottest Months Recorded So Far

So, 2016 is on track to be the world’s hottest year on record.

According to the World Meteorological Association:

June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month of record heat for land and oceans. It marked the 378th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. The last month with temperatures below the 20th century average was December 1984.
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The average temperature in the first six months of 2016 was 1.3°C (2.4°F warmer than the pre-industrial era in the late 19th century, according to NASA.

NOAA said the global land and ocean average temperature for January–June was 1.05°C (1.89°F) above the 20th century average, beating the previous record set in 2015 by 0.20°C (0.36°F).

Year to date Global Temperature

Be Like Bill – Frugal Innovator

I made this Frugal Innovator based on the Be Like Bill meme, a few months ago.

A reminder to myself and others who visit the blog!

Bill_Frugal_Innovator

I Get Excited and Depressed When I Read Stories Of Automation & Robots

I just read this article in The Guardian, titled “Robot factories could threaten jobs of millions of garment workers”

This is neither the first nor the last article to be published on this topic.

Also according to the article,the International Labor Organisation (ILO) has a report stating that up to 90% of workers in south-east Asia could face unemployment due to automation. So this is just one field. Now think about how automation will have repetitive jobs eliminated in all the different fields not just in developing countries but also in the developed world! It will be an unemployment nightmare because it is far difficult for people to update their skill sets in a short period of time to apply for new opportunities.

A simple Google Search with the words “Automation Job Loss” gives 1.3 million results. This already shows the volume of articles in this area.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 00.58.42

Sewbots are unlikely to appear in factories in Asia, the report says, but will be installed in destination markets like Europe and the US. It is such a big threat that the ILO urges Asean countries to start planning to diversify to “avoid considerable setbacks in development”.

I get excited when I read about automation because new tech is awesome and I get depressed because the transition for people to acquire new skills and be part of the workforce will be an increasingly difficult job.

Obviously this is not just a technology issue but a societal issue. So, factories will be coming back to the developed countries from these emerging markets but they don’t enhance employment opportunities in the developed markets in any significant way either.

Adidas announced a factory in Germany that will begin manufacturing shoes using robots in 2017. The “Speedfactory” will employ just 160 people: one robotic production line will make soles, the other production line the upper part of shoes. With an additional factory planned for the US, it is a scheme Adidas describe as a “gamechanger”.

Currently an Adidas shoe takes 18 months to produce from idea to shelf. The aim is to reduce this to five hours, with customers able to customise their order in stores.

There is a significant amount of experts who are pushing now to create some sort of “Basic Income” to counter this phenomenon. The idea of a “Basic Income” is that the state will providea minimum amount of money needed to survive to all it’s citizens so that it could provide financial security for people and at the same time help unleash their creative juices, get them to take more risks and be more entrepreneurial in their pursuits.

There is question and answer about how to tackle this automation in this specific context.

For the millions of people who stitch clothes and shoes for a living and who look set to be hardest hit by automation, could robots be an opportunity for fairer work?

“In a best case scenario, robots take on board the most repetitive, mundane and non-cognitive tasks of apparel manufacturing,” explains Chang. “Robots would also assume more of the dangerous and dirty tasks, like mixing of chemicals which can be hazardous to human workers. Ultimately, human workers would be able to perform more satisfying and rewarding, as well as higher-paid, jobs in the sector like programming robots for better production and design.”

I think this is more hope talking rather than reality. Because the transition to automation and building such factories will be lot quicker than making structural changes in the economy or for people to update their skills.

So, this again brings me to emphasise the importance of Frugal Innovations and creating quality, accessible, sustainable and affordable solutions.

So, as the quote goes “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Businesses and innovators in both public and private sector need to learn to create such solutions because people and organisations with lesser financial resources will demand such solutions.

Just Came Across Conscious Capitalism – Initial Thoughts

“It’s not about minimizing costs and making profits. You have to build on growing, caring and making an impact.”- Babson College Professor, Raj Sisodia, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism Inc.

This above quote is from this article Conscious Capitalism: the Next Chapter in Business. 

This is part of the increasingly mainstreamed way of doing business. First came Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), then Inclusive Business, Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing and Frugal Innovation have started to push business from “Laissez Faire Capitalism” to responsible capitalism.

This in combination with economists like Tomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” and Professor Angus Deaton (2015 Nobel prize winner in Economics) have started to highlight the necessity in creating a more responsible way of doing business.

I will have to read more, get more examples, digest them all and will get back to further thoughts on this in future blog posts.