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This 'mousetrap' may save lives
Date:5/15/2012

Instead of building a better mousetrap, a team of Rice University freshmen took a mousetrap and built a better way to treat dehydration among children in the developing world.

"The goal was to regulate the amount of fluid delivered to children so we could prevent over-hydration and under-hydration," said Melissa Yuan, a member of the IV DRIP (Dehydrated Relief in Pediatrics) team and a mechanical engineering major. "It's designed to be used in severely underdeveloped parts of the world, where conditions can be pretty primitive and they may not even have electricity."

The challenge that sparked the innovative design has been mentioned by physicians working in Africa since Rice's Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Maria Oden began traveling there six years ago in search of real-world design challenges for students in Rice's Beyond Traditional Borders program. Richards-Kortum is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering and director of Rice 360: Institute for Global Health Technologies, which oversees Beyond Traditional Borders. Oden is a professor in the practice of engineering education and director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen.

"Many times physicians have mentioned to us that they would like a tool that can better moderate IV-fluid delivery to children, who are often connected to adult IV-bags," Oden said. "In understaffed medical settings, monitoring IV-fluid delivery to patients can be a challenge. At the same time, it is of critical importance that the appropriate amount of fluid is delivered."

The device designed by the IV DRIP team is inexpensive; it costs about $20 to manufacture. It's a mechanical, durable, autonomous and simple-to-operate volume regulator that uses a lever arm with a movable counterweight similar to a physician's scale to incrementally dispense IV fluid.

The system uses the change in torque as an IV bag is drained of fluid to set off a mousetrap-like spring that clamps the IV tube
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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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