“If you need something made, there’s not much we can’t do,” says Mike Eisenstein, manager of PATH’s state-of-the-art product development shop, which is located in our Seattle headquarters.
Buzzing with activity, the facility features a broad range of equipment and capacities, as well as staff with expertise across disciplines ranging from computer-assisted design to fabrication to user testing to market dynamics.
Beyond the usual fabrication and prototyping tools found in most workshops, the shop also includes environmental chambers for testing the effects of heat and humidity, a wet room for work on water and sanitation projects, two 3-D printers, and more.
In collaboration with numerous partners, we design, adapt, and develop technologies—not just stopgaps but lasting, user-centered solutions—that are appropriate and affordable for resource-limited settings, particularly in Africa and Asia.
Recent products developed, improved, or assessed in the shop include:
- The NIFTY cup, a small, soft feeding cup with a tiny reservoir at its spout, designed to feed nutritious breastmilk to preterm infants and to babies who have issues breastfeeding due to cleft lip or palate.
- The SE200™ Community Chlorine Maker, a simple device that uses just salt and water, along with electricity from a car battery, to make enough chlorine in five minutes to treat up to 200 liters of water.
- Female-initiated contraceptives including the one-size-fits-most SILCS diaphragm, the Woman’s Condom, and the Sayana® Press injectable contraceptive, which is packaged and delivered in the PATH-developed Uniject™ injection system.
- A low-cost bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) kit and an oxygen blender that has the potential to save lives of struggling newborns in the world’s hardest-to-reach places.
As PATH Devices and Tools program leader David Shoultz says in the video, in our product development shop, “we take ideas that might seem far off, or even far-out, and test them for applications in global health.” And the collective impact of those efforts? It’s measured in hundreds of millions of lives touched.
Sayana Press is a registered trademark of Pfizer Inc. Uniject is a trademark of BD. SE200 is a trademark of MSR.
- Tom Furtwangler is a senior communications officer at PATH.