OpenPCR: Move towards open source medical devices

I had gone to a conference about two years back in an academic institute. There is no point in naming names because that is immaterial. I had signed up for a hands on demonstration of an upcoming pathology technique to understand its relevance and adoption in solid tumours.

I did not realise that it was an industry-sponsored event and hence, beyond the basics; they were interested in pushing their product. I had stood up and objected to it but it caused only a minor scandal. The blatant hypocrisy to “drive up numbers and appear influential” was clear. I usually desist from attending conferences because that’s a pure waste of time and intellectual bandwidth.

With this prelude and learning, I have been thinking of open sourcing medical devices. I stumbled on this Open PCR. Its goals are simple (and modest):

OpenPCR was designed with three primary goals:

  1. Ultra low cost: roughly 1/10th the cost of traditional machines
  2. Be easy to understand, build, modify, and use
  3. Perform accurately: you should be able to trust that the OpenPCR temperature control is not a source of error for your experiments

Why wouldn’t the labs adopt this so that the advantages of research and diagnosis can be realised faster?

We need to think for the “less developed” regions to remove the inequality. Most of the pronouncements are usually for the lip sympathy with pledges made faster than shedding of crocodile tears, but it is a doable effort.

I believe that it would democratise the research benefits.