Design to heal wounds

An improved negative-pressure system that doesn’t use batteries or electricity could help to heal many wounds in developing countries.

It’s been known for decades that applying a negative pressure system to open wounds can speed up the healing process considerably. However, the unreliable supply and high cost of electricity in developing countries often makes this system inefficient.

A group of mechanical engineering students at MIT have developed a simple, inexpensive and lightweight version of the negative pressure system that does not rely on electricity or batteries and can be kept in place for days.

This negative pressure system is a cylindrical device with accordian-like folds that are squeezed to create suction and then left in place while being connected to the underside of the wound dressing using a plastic tube. One such portable plastic-moulded pumps would sell for about $3 each and can be designed in a sustainable way for developing countries.

One of the students, Danielle Zurovick continues working on this project for her doctorate. Zurovick has been making plans to test the device in a rural clinic in Rwanda.

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