Open source initiative offers cheaper, rapid development path for
4 December 2009
A unique medical innovation initiative launched by Cranfield
University could shape the way the medical device sector introduces new
Using an Open Source (OS) product design model, the team aims to develop
life saving medical devices faster and at cheaper costs.
Although the OS model — a freely licensed approach to the design,
development, and distribution of software — is a relatively well
established principle in software innovation, there are few examples of
application to tangible products within the medical and healthcare
The current model for developing medical products, based on
protecting intellectual property, is costly and complex, and difficult
for small companies to get involved in, although their input is often
invaluable. A major element of this ambitious project, which aims to
make life saving and commonly used medical devices widely available to
more people, will be the development of an ‘OS demonstrator’ — a £1000
medical scanner for primary care.
Professor Daniel Steenstra, who has been appointed the Royal Academy
of Engineering Visiting Professor in Innovation at Cranfield, and will
be leading the project, said: “I am obviously very pleased and honoured
to have been appointed by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Cranfield.
I have found an impressive range of expertise and capabilities and most
importantly passion for an exciting project such as the £1000 medical
scanner. This initiative promises to establish Cranfield’s position as a
leader in OS innovation.”
One of the first steps in this project is to establish links with
industry and healthcare providers and build a network of stakeholders.
For information on how to get
involved, contact Professor
Steenstra at Cranfield University: