Little Moe, Gigi and Neil to the Rescue! Germ-Zapping Robots Fight Ebola Virus

In early September, we featured a gadget that alerts hospital patients whether or not their healthcare providers hands are germ-free. BioVigil’s intention was to reduce the spread of hospital associated infections (HAIs) and encourage hand-washing hygiene in a simple manner. Now let’s take that concept a step further. Meet “Moe,” “Gigi” and “Neil,” germ-fighting machines that resemble R2-D2 from Star Wars, that blast ultraviolet (UVC) pulses of light in any area of the room. Created by Xenex™, a Texas-based company specializing in the disinfection of healthcare facilities, these robots can annihilate the ebola virus by damaging its viral DNA. Although ultraviolet technology isn’t new to fighting infectious surfaces, Xenex robots have better speed and strength in the disinfection process, and they use a patented mercury-free (xenon) light technology solution.

Moe, Gigi and Neil are named when the machines are assembled in the factory to distinguish them from each other. “Shelby,” “Lacy,” “Lisa” and “Ray” are among the many others.  Could these modern-day robot-heroes save us from the evils of ebola? It’s certainly a possibility. Dr. Mark Stibich said these robots can rid a hospital room of germs in 5 minutes and destroy Ebola on any surface in 2 minutes. The company has established new CDC protocols that now include the disinfection process for the protective gear worn when treating patients. Check out the resources we’ve curated for you below to learn more.

Invention: Xenex™ Germ-Zapping Robots™ 
Inventors: Mark Stibich
Capability: Robotic machines that destroy surface bacteria and viruses through ultra violet, mercury-free (xenon) light technology.
Recent Successes: Xenex robots are widely used and gaining much media attention due to the recent ebola threat. Currently, the company has established new protocols in line with the CDC to prevent the spread of ebola.


Performing An UltraSound With Your iPad

Ultrasounds can be lifesaving for pregnant women and their babies, but in many areas of the world, they aren’t available. The equipment is costly at $45,000 – $75,000 per machine, and requires trained personnel. But new technology can make ultrasounds available at a fraction of the cost, anywhere in the world.

The Oscadi Company is developing a gadget that turns your iPad into a functional ultrasound “machine”. It’s called OSCULT and allows any doctor, radiologist, clinician or EMT to use the device to get live sonogram photos directly on her iPad.  She can even consult with doctors anywhere in the world using the included software.

iPad Connected UltraSound Machine invented by Oscandi

iPad Connected UltraSound Machine invented by Oscandi

OSCULT is VERY new and will be tested in veterinary situations in the near future. We’ll keep you posted on development and success stories as the Oscadi Company fine tunes their innovation. Thanks to Jordan Cook for first writing about this extraordinary product.

Invention: OSCULT
Inventors: Olivier Sautron and Thierry Payet
Capability: OSCULT is an handheld ultrasound imaging device that interfaces with the Apple iPad. Its smart design, intuitive interface and exclusive new features are helping to solve a complex global health issue.
Recent Successes: Oscult has an affordable price point of $15,000 which is about two thirds less than a typical ultrasound machine. The capabilities are currently going to be used in the veterinary sciences. It is now in the pre-order stage. Not much media attention has been given due to its newness to the market.

Suggested Resources:

This Device Helps Babies “Pop Out” Like a Cork From a Bottle

TALK ABOUT INSPIRED CREATIVITY! Jorge Odon was inspired to help pregnant mothers in prolonged labor after watching a party trick that uses a plastic bag to get a cork out of a wine bottle. That inspiration led him to invent the Odon Device, a low-cost instrument for assisted vaginal delivery. Odon, a then 52-year old Argentine car mechanic, with no medical training, showed his idea to a medical group in Buenos Aires Hospital and it took off from there.

The Odon Device was one of the 18 selected winners at “Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development” initiative funded by the Gates Foundation in 2011. The device is undergoing testing, and to date the the clinical trials have all been successful so far.

The Odon Deivce has the potential to reduce the risks prolonged labor and maternal complications associated with obstructed labor, including fetal maternal hemorrhage and infection, as well as other newborn complications such as birth asphyxia and trauma. This can be a REAL live-saver especially in situations where surgery can’t be performed.

Invention: Odon Device
Inventor: Jorge Odon
Capability: The device is made of film-like polyethylene material and may be potentially safer and easier to apply than forceps and vacuum extractor (contraindicated in cases of HIV infection) for assisted deliveries, and a safe alternative to some Caesarean sections in settings with limited surgical capacity and human resource constraints.
Recent Successes: Jorge Odon named as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business (2014), Winner in the “Saving Lives at Birth: a Grand Challenge for Development” global competition (2011), Numerous testing and successful clinical trials in a two-phased study in health care facilities in Argentina and rural South Africa, Further testing to take place in China and India, World Health Organization support and recognition as the potential to be the “first simple new tool for assisted delivery since forceps and vacuum extractors were introduced centuries ago,” according to Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization

Suggested Resources:


Flexible Scale Helps Those With Limited Mobility Monitor Weight


Monitoring weight can be a challenge if you are unable to stand or have limited mobility. Engineering students Molly Farison and Amos Meeks invented a solution for those who are unable to use a traditional “step on” scale. It’s called the Lilypad Scale and it’s only 3/4″ thick, flexible and rolls up like a yoga mat. The user can simply roll onto the pad and control the functions using a wireless display. After the weight of the wheelchair is entered once, it is automatically deducted during future use. Co-founder, Molly Fairson believes that her invention will help those with limited mobility become better equipped to monitor their weight and make healthier choices if needed. “With our scale, people who use wheelchairs will be able to weigh themselves on their own, in their home with the independence they deserve,” said Fairson when describing her scale.

The company is a new start-up but they are on the fast track to getting some social media and news coverage ever since they won First Place in Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought and Action Challenge competition earlier this year.

Invention: Lilypad Scale
Inventors: Molly Farison and Amos Meeks
Capability:  Scale for people with mobility difficulties to use wherever they go. The thin weighing pads are easy to roll onto, making the scale convenient and safe to use. The scale comes with a wireless handheld readout, allowing users to easily read their weight while using the scale.
Recent Successes: First Place Winner in Babson Entrepreneurial Thought and Action Award

Related Resources:

A Lucky Charm for Women & Children That Saves Lives

Anemia, a condition which often results from iron deficiency, causes dizziness, lethargy and cognitive delays, it impairs growth, causes pregnancy problems, and even maternal death.  But in many areas of the world, iron rich foods and even iron cooking pots are prohibitively expensive.

Enter the Lucky Iron Fish Project – a brilliantly simple solution that reduces anemia. Gavin Armstrong, the inventor of the Lucky Iron Fish, was working in Cambodia where 2/3 of children suffer from anemia. He knew that adding a lump of iron to cooking pots would infuse the food with enough iron to prevent deficiencies. But there is a big difference between knowing the solution and implementing it in a way that actually motivates people to use your solution.


After immersing himself in Cambodian culture, Gavin realized that fish were a powerful symbol of good luck and by making a simple design change – turning lumps of iron into a fish-shaped mold, his invention took off. In the test areas, anemia has been virtually eliminated.

For those of us with young picky eaters at home, this sounds like a brilliantly simple solution that might even have applications outside the developing world.

Invention: Lucky Iron Fish
Project Leader: Gavin Armstrong
Capability:  The Lucky Iron Fish™ is a social entrepreneurship organization with a vision is to become a global leader to improve the lives of two billion people who suffer from iron deficiency. The product, a small iron fish added to cooking pots can provide enough iron to prevent deficiences.
Recent Successes: Global impact and strong vision, this organization is quickly gaining partners to join the cause. Gavin’s Lucky Iron Fish Project was also a featured TedX Talk

Suggested Resources:
Company Website
Company Facebook Page
On Twitter: @luckyironfish
The Good Luck Charm That Solved a Health Problem
This Iron FIsh Offers Relief from Anemia