This electrical engineer built an open-source headlamp for doctors in developing countries - Philly

Software Development

Feb. 19, 2015 11:44 am

This electrical engineer built an open-source headlamp for doctors in developing countries

Doctors in developing countries often have to postpone treatment when it gets dark. When lights break, it's hard to get new ones. Amanda DelCore has a solution.
Amanda DelCore.

Amanda DelCore.

(Photo by Juliana Reyes)

Light can save lives.

That’s what Amanda DelCore learned through the work of Dr. Laura Stachel, who designed a portable light kit when she saw that doctors and nurses in developing countries had to postpone treatment when their lights would go out. The doctors and nurses were especially excited about the headlamps included in Stachel’s kit because they were hands-free.

But there was a problem with the headlamps: if they broke, it was really hard to get a new one, because of the one-two punch of price or distance constraints.

DelCore, who has her master’s in sustainable engineering from Villanova, took on the challenge. She wanted to build a solar-powered LED headlamp that could be used over and over again.

She spent a few months doing research in Nicaragua, where she came up with the idea and prototype for a headlamp kit, built with locally-sourced materials. If people built the lamp on their own, they’d be able to fix it if it broke, she said earlier this week at 50onRed’s PhillyCrafted meetup. (See her slides here.)

DelCore plans to put the files for the headlamp up on GitHub so that other people can improve upon the design. She also recently dialed back some of her work hours (she’s a sustainability consultant at Malvern’s Environmental Resources Management) to focus on the project.

Watch a video about DelCore’s project below.

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