Geek.com has the story of a clever Swedish research team lead by Aman Russom that is hacking inexpensive DVD players and turning them into a “Lab-on-DVD.” According to the story, “Flow cytometry, a standard practice in HIV testing, involves the counting and organization of cells. Though standard practice, a flow cytometry machine is still quite expensive — sometimes reaching $30,000. This means that developing countries or underfunded practices may not be able to afford one. However, a cheap DVD player is eminently more affordable, and the Lab-on-DVD is estimated to cost as low as $200.”
This is the kind of life changing technology that makes me proud to be a fellow hacker. This story goes to show how systems that are open and moddable can lead to greater innovation than ones that are closed and proprietary. I strongly believe that putting tech into the hands of people who are able to turn it to novel uses, can make the world a better place.