Does it ever feel like you really are not gaining any experience from your classes that can be applied to the real world? I know I have felt that way about several of my classes.
Let’s be honest: As a journalist, when will I ever need Math for Critical Thinking or biochemistry? Probably never.
But students at Rice University are learning real life skills, and applying them to make life-saving medical technology. These students created a piece of medical equipment that can test people for anemia from a salad spinner, combs, yogurt containers, and other common household items. This type of medical equipment is usually very expensive, but the students’ approach only costs around $30.
The students were taking a global health class, and their assignment was to create a way to test for anemia that does not require electricity so it could be used in Third World countries. The device operates by manual spinning. After ten minutes of spinning, the blood separates into red blood cells and plasma. This will allow doctors to determine if the patient is anemic, which increases the person’s risk for contracting many other diseases.
The new device, called the Sally Centrifuge, will be tested this summer in Ecuador, Malawi, and Swaziland. So how will it hold up with the rigors of international travel?
“It’s all plastic and pretty durable,” said Lila Kerr, one of the creators. “We haven’t brought it overseas yet, of course, but we’ve trekked it back and forth across campus in our backpacks and grocery bags and it’s held up fine.”