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Technology: 24-Year Old Med Student Finds Futuristic Solution For The World’s Ills [Cover Story]

Photograph by Katrin Koenning, article by John Tozzi, for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Here is a frustrating problem: Pneumonia, though treatable with antibiotics, kills more children than any other cause (mostly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa), according to the World Health Organization.

Enter the problem-solver! Hon Weng Chong, a 24-year-old student at Melbourne (Australia) Medical School, has developed a quick way to diagnose children in areas where health care is scarce. He’s built a stethoscope that can plug into a smartphone and doesn’t require medical training to use. Unfortunately, for now, there is a lack of speedy networks and smartphones in the areas of need. Sad… and the same problem exists in rural/poor locales in MANY countries (like my own, the United States). But imagine if we could overcome this obstacle… lots of diagnoses and prescribed treatments could be done doctor-free (talk about healthcare reform)… high-blood pressure, urinary tract infections… all kinds of one-test-one-pill situations. Improved health outcomes the world over… DONE!


Obviously, Mr. Chong is really onto something huge! THINK about it: As the costs associated with super-computing continue to drop, we are getting closer to bringing futuristic medical solutions to bear on the world’s health problems… using some serious Star Trek style technology. Drs. McCoy, Crusher, and Polaski (you know, the Chief Medical Officers from the various Star Trek series) would be just as excited as I am. Damn right, I’m a Trekkie! And before you laugh about how ridiculous it is to think that Star Trek technology could ever exist in the real world, DON’T! Truth is, we already have a lot of Star Trek tech in use or in development. For starters, hit Google up about Star Trek’s influence on wireless communications, and see what you learn.

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