Its appearance is ordinary, but this tablet can simply save lives. Tested at the CHU of Yaoundé and in the small hospital in Mbankomo, 25 kilometers from the Cameroonian capital, the Cardiopad allows anyone, even a bit trained, to measure cardiac physiological data.
Frequency of pulses or duration of “RR intervals” between two beats, this information is calculated, displayed and recorded by this tablet and can be simultaneously transmitted remotely to a cardiologist so that he can establish a diagnosis. This tool, particularly promising when Cameroon has only 50 cardiologists for 20 million inhabitants, was created from scratch by a 27-year-old young engineer, Arthur Zang. And this, without own means and in barely five years.
It was in 2009 that the idea germinated in the mind of this inventor. While studying computer science at the Yaoundé polytechnic school, Arthur Zang did an internship in the cardiology department of Professor Samuel Kingue. Surprised by the use of paper electrocardiograms in the 21st century, he suggested that the professor design software that could be used on a computer.
Artur Zang doesn’t know it yet, but it’s the start of his entrepreneurial adventure. An adventure that blends in with the boom in African digital technology: between 2010 and 2014, this stubborn inventor made use of all the means available free online to complete his project. To train in electronics, a prerequisite for adapting his system to use on a tablet, this computer scientist will follow for one year and remotely the courses of a Mooc (Massiv Open Online Course), found on the website of the Indian Institute of technology.
His audacity pays
To obtain materials, the entrepreneur then submits his idea to an international competition, the Microsoft Imagination Competition, which he discovers online. His project was noticed, he then received certain electronic components necessary for the construction of the prototype tablet. In order to get funded, he demonstrates another digital initiative: he films his project and posts it on YouTube. His audacity pays. The video was noticed by Cameroonian President Paul Biya “who officially hands me $ 45,000 to continue the adventure,” he said.
His project is also noticed by talent hunters from the Rolex Foundation, who selected Arthur Zang in 2014 for their prestigious Rolex Awards. A prize of 50,000 Swiss francs (48,000 euros) as well as support that will allow him to move up a gear. In November 2014, for the last time, Arthur Zang bet on the global network to get a boost. Under the title “Saving Africa from Heart Diseases with Cardiopad”, he is submitting his project on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform to raise funds to finance industrial production. The project gets 8,800 euros. “It is less than hoped, but enough to start production in China,” he said.
About a hundred tablets have just been produced in March 2015 and should be sold at a price of around 3,000 euros. Arthur Zang is still looking for funding but is already looking further ahead. His next project? Allow remote ultrasound, by means of a tablet.
Read on http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2015/04/02/cardiopad-la-tablette-imaginee-pour-sauver-des-vies-1-14_4608552_3212.html