Tania Douglas, a biomedical engineering professor, delivered a talk on technology design, in which she reviews the different ways that context impacts the effectiveness of particular innovations, and how it can be used to improve healthcare in South Africa.
Douglas introduces her talk by explaining what she calls an "equipment graveyard" in South Africa, which is where imported medical devices that aren't suitable for use in the area are left to go to waste. Some of these devices are left in equipment graveyards because specifically trained staff aren't available to operate and maintain them, or because they cannot withstand high temperatures and humidity. One example of this form of equipment is an ultrasound monitor, which is used to check up on the health of developing babies.
Next, Douglas considers some of the recent innovations that have made a positive impact on members of these communities, as their designers have focused on context when coming up with their designs to ensure that they can be feasibly utilized by healthcare practitioners. With her talk on technology design, Douglas highlights the differences in healthcare environments that must be taken into account, and considers the importance of introducing students to these concepts so that they can make a difference.
Tania Douglas' Talk on Technology Design Considers Better Solutions