HST.426 :: Spring 2017 Class

HST.426 Maker Lab: Creating Technologies to Re-invent Health Care

Course Director(s): Lee Gehrke, Jose Gomez-Marquez, Anna Young
TA: Zhuoxuan Li

Time: Tuesday Lecture 2:30-3:30pm (E25-117), Thursday Lab 2-5pm (Location E25-533 HST Medical Makerspace)

 **Register via Websis using HST.426 selection here.**


Medical technology is anything but transparent. It’s cloaked in housings, driven by engineering we don’t understand and shrouded in complexity. It’s design for black box.

A typical pulse oximeter that checks your oxygen level when you walk into the doctor’s office has more than 35 parts. Most Americans have no idea that there’s only 3 parts that are critical. A couple of LEDs and sensor. That’s a device that be as cheap as $25 and as expensive as $5000, used in every operating room around the world.

The United States uses 20 million home pregnancy tests a year. Digital pregnancy tests are around $20, include more than 45 parts and we’re duped into believing that an LCD is more accurate. In the end only 2 components make everything happen for less than a $1. (1)

In HST MakerLab, we’ll explore how to develop tools that bridge medical care and medical making using construction kits so doctors can prescribe prototypes.

The disparities in affordable healthcare technology are a growing part of increasing healthcare costs globally. We’ll explore affordable prototyping and design strategies for health technology and medicine that can be applied to improve patient care in a variety of settings: both low-income and high-income economies, at patients’ homes and in hospitals.

Using Patient-Generated Data Devices as a learning model, students will design affordable devices that are used by patients to manage their health.

Using Construction Sets for Health as a strategy, students will explore the diversity of possibilities that can be applied when patients are empowered to design their own solutions. Students will participate in a team project in one of four design/mentor tracks, supported by lectures and hands-on labs.

Design tracks will cover four elements:

  • Casual Diagnostics
  • Health for Accessibility
  • Rural, Global Health & Austere Environments
  • Home Care

Group study of subjects related to health sciences and technology not otherwise included in the curriculum. Prerequisites may vary by topic; consult faculty at time of offering.



1. Gomez-Marquez, J. TED, 2015, Monterrey, CA