We have a relatively short newsletter for you this week, with a section on upcoming webinars, one on the research use of Lego, and the usual collection of interesting tidbits.


Precision medicine – empowering the patient Wednesday 21st April 10:00

Full details of next Wednesday’s webinar on Precision Medicine kindly being organised by DHACA Board member Pilar Fernandez-Hermida are now on the website and booking is open. As you’ll see we have five extremely authoritative presenters on a topic that is guaranteed to be of great interest to any member who recognises that good health and care will inevitably require both medical devices and medicines, working collaboratively.

Digital therapeutic prescribing in secondary care enabling effective real world evidence collection  28 April 10:00

By aligning different sources of information, appropriately anonymised, it is possible to use digital therapeutic prescribing in secondary care as a great source of real world evidence collection – IQVIA will tell us how. This webinar should be of great interest to any app developer keen to build the evidence base for their product or service. For more details and to book, go here.

Reuters webinars

Reuters are kindly offering DHACA members two free-to-attend webinars:

How to build the infrastructure to become a data-driven organization on 4th May at 16:00 BST

Health data interoperability: Opportunities and threats on 5th May at 16:00 BST

The Lego microscope

Dated 11th April (not the 1st April!) – bioRxiv published Designing a high-resolution, LEGO-based microscope for an educational setting  This is a hugely impressive paper on the detail of how to do it, including many short videos. And it works really well.

It also got me thinking more widely. At one level, once you’ve bought into the Lego system, the concept of plug and play, in which, within reason, any Lego part will fit onto any other, will doubtless have conditioned the minds of many engineers, perhaps even subconsciously, to reject the idea of unnecessary proprietary standards as preventing interconnection, increasing cost and stifling innovation. As such it may just have advanced the widespread use of assistive technology a few years.

At another level, could Lego be a useful tool to help developers, and to educate installers and all those involved with assistive technology, on how best to apply it to provide customised help for users and their carers? Those of us who vividly remember their first encounter with the ubiquitous brick though who now no longer have a close association with the system will perhaps be unaware of the many Lego Mindstorm sensors the first one of which was introduced in 1999. Control, for example using a Raspberry Pi instead of the Intelligent Brick (surely an oxymoron) is old hat too. There is even a Lego prosthetic system. Perhaps Lego is already being used creatively more widely in the assistive living space – comments from members most welcomed.

In my youth Meccano was the go-to engineering trainer. Although it was used to build working differential analysers from 1934 onwards, and to build the precursor to the modern artificial heart in 1949 (William Sewell and William Glenn of the Yale School of Medicine), just thinking what we could have done by adding today’s sensor, computing and communication technologies makes me very envious!

And finally…

Many thanks as always to Prof Mike Short for pointing me to items I might otherwise have missed.

I do hope most of you can join me at next Wednesday’s webinar.

Kind regards,