January 14, 2020
If you’re a nurse in a hospital and a monitoring machine near your station starts beeping like crazy, you’ll probably want to hustle to figure out what the problem is. In fact, a nonstop cacophony of beeps and blips might be a nurse’s worst nightmare. For Rami Koivunen, though, it’s all in a day’s work. Together with his team at GE Healthcare’s Finnish headquarters, Koivunen works to put medical monitoring devices through their paces, imagining all sorts of unlikely scenarios in a controlled environment. In short: If you’re a medical device? Koivunen is trying to push your buttons.
Finnishing touches: GE Healthcare is one of the world’s largest makers of devices and software that monitor patient vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure and blood oxygenation in hospital beds, intensive care units and operating rooms — all sites where medical professionals need to trust their equipment. In Finland, Koivunen and colleagues run every new model and software upgrade through a series of trials, with the aim of rendering them all but immune to human error. “It requires a special mindset,” he said. “You try to break something and, when you succeed, you are proud of your work.”
Click here for a peek into the high-tech test lab where GE Healthcare makes sure its machines are ready for the real world.
Last month in Madrid, policymakers and scientists at the United Nations’ conference on climate change sought ways for the world to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, and become carbon neutral by 2050. Just a few miles away, another organization has its sights on a related goal: The Spanish grid operator RED ELÉCTRICA DE ESPAÑA S.A. is working to reduce emissions of a lesser-known greenhouse gas called sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6. Though it’s a critical component of the electrical grid, the global warming potential of SF6 is 23,500 times that of CO2 over a 100-year period. Clearly an alternative is needed; luckily GE has one.
It’s a gas! Not easily replaced, SF6 is an amazing insulator and arc extinguisher — qualities treasured by utility operators at electrical substations, which receive energy from the grid for distribution to homes and businesses. The solution designed by GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions unit, in collaboration with 3M, is Green Gas for the Grid, or g3. “g3 offers power companies a way to reduce their physical and environmental footprint and expand the grid without using SF6, therefore decreasing their environmental impact,” said Vera Silva, Grid Solutions’ chief technology officer. RED ELÉCTRICA DE ESPAÑA S.A. is the first utility in Spain to make use of the technology, joining 17 utilities worldwide — and many more, hopefully, to come.
Learn more here about the potential of g3 to help utilities combat global warming.
1. Brain Gains
Scientists at the Medical University of Vienna designed a noninvasive treatment that uses ultrasound to regenerate brain function in patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
2. Not Just A Flu-ke?
In Atlanta, researchers at Georgia State University created a “universal flu vaccine” and successfully tested it in mice.
3. Do You Eat Cell Fish?
Angling to reduce the environmental impacts of fishing, a California startup is growing yellowtail tuna fillets from cells in a lab.
Read more here about this week’s Coolest Things on Earth.
— QUOTE OF THE DAY —
“They try to break it in ways we preferably cannot imagine so we can potentially reveal a design problem and fix it.”
— Rami Koivunen, software engineering manager at GE Healthcare.
Quote: GE Reports. Image: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.
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