Design of a Telemedicine Computer Interface for Harsh Environments

Open Access
Author:
Lee, Alice
Area of Honors:
Bioengineering
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Peter J Butler, Thesis Supervisor
  • Khanjan Mehta, Thesis Supervisor
Keywords:
  • telemedicine
  • Kenya
  • healthcare
Abstract:
Mashavu is a telemedicine system designed to send a patient’s medical information from a cell phone tower to a website to the nearest clinic where a trained health professional can respond to the patient. It is designed to increase the affordability of preventative medicine to rural villages in East Africa. This paper will first address the lack of accessible healthcare in rural villages in developing nations and propose telemedicine as a partial solution to the healthcare crisis. Next, it introduces Mashavu and its promises to deliver affordable preventative healthcare to populations in Kenya and Tanzania. All the hardware issues within the Mashavu system are addressed, and solutions are proposed to these issues. Several designs for a rugged computer interface were generated and evaluated. A design will be selected, built, and tested for ruggedness, cost, and durability for use within a typical harsh environment in a developing nation such as Kenya. Three prototypes were built and two of the three prototypes underwent ruggedness testing through rain, shock, and vibration as defined by the MIL-STD 810G sponsored by the United States Department of Defense. The prototypes withstood the tests, however there was room for design improvements against dust. Ideally, the design will be brought over to Kenya where it will be evaluated based on observation and quantifiable measurements as well as on Mashavu’s overall performance within Kenya.