16 Cool Old Medical Devices (Donated to my Hackerspace)


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Some kind soul donated a bunch of old medical devices to my hackerspace, the Hack Factory — equipment so ancient that there was no way it would ever again be used in a medical setting. What better place to donate a bunch of sweet junk than a hackerspace?

I’m doing a lot of potentiometer projects recently, so the old-school knobs really caught by eye — but there are also lots of other cool things to be found like steppers (which wobble the pens that record heart rate and so on), toggle switches, and awesome steel enclosures.

I welcome your ideas on how we might use this stuff.

20 thoughts on “16 Cool Old Medical Devices (Donated to my Hackerspace)

  1. Rob says:

    It’s a moral imperative that you make use of the pen mechanisms. You could hack the machine to generate a paper record of the number of tweets per hour that mention twerking, for example.

  2. Eiki Martinson says:

    Good idea, I’ve got some old medical devices and such that I need to get rid of.

  3. Roger says:

    Somebody should turn the Bio-Amplifier/Supply machine into an espresso maker.

  4. Var says:

    The project boxes and the knobs definetely, but you could make the pen-thingy into an old-fashioned no-digital-screen-or-microprocessor good old polygraphs(read:lie detector)!

  5. Calisto says:

    Add a green screen and you got the makings of a Flash Gordon space ship.

    Seriously those pens are VERY hard to come by in good working order, start soaking them in denatured alcohol to flush the old ink out.

  6. Gregg Bond (@cabe_bedlam) says:

    It also seems like the front panels could be reused by flipping them over and using the toner transfer method of silk-screening legends. Some very cool retro-chic design there.

  7. Terry Kremin says:

    A bit of an aside, – just some FYI geewhiz. I do in vivo (so in a behaving animal) electrophysiology. It always amazed me looking back at early article in the field (1960s, 1970s) and reading the methods sections. The electrical population activity (like EKG stuff now) in an area was recorded on these paper sheets, and then dominant rhythms measured by hand/eye by number of visually identifiable peaks in an inch and knowing feed speed used and then frequency was calculated. Doing the Fourier transform would have required a ton of access to a school mainframe (if they had one).

    Amazing now you can run Fast Fourier Transforms on large (megabytes) files in a fraction of a second on your personal computer and get precise broad spectrum frequency data.

    Amazes me, anyway.

  8. Jeremy Hiers says:

    medical modular synthesizer. its therapeutic tones could be soothing. ambient drones mixed with white noise as such. circuits to be assembled can be found here: http://www.musicfromouterspace.com/

  9. Rasmus says:

    A plethysmograph has been used as an actual gaydar, so my first thought when seeing the photo was to put citation marks around the word “hand” :-) According to BBC production QI this use of a plethysmograph was used by the Royal Mounties, amongst others, to find homosexuals: http://youtu.be/P0Rc7m8hWv8

  10. asciimation says:

    Hopefully not Therac-25s (anyone who has a software engineering degree will have heard of those).


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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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