GE's Healthcare's engineers were set a formidable challenge: take a 15 lb. electrocardiograph (ECG) machine that cost $5.4 million. Squeeze the same technology into a portable device that be held with one hand. They were also charged with developing it in 18 months for just 60 per cent of its wholesale cost.
With such a stretch target and tight resources, the engineers combined their technical know-how with creative tweaks of off-the-shelf parts. For example, the machine's printer is an adaptation of one used in bus terminal kiosks across India. The MAC 400 costs $800, instead of $2,000 for a conventional ECG machine, and reduced the cost of an ECG to just $1 (50 rupees) per patient. A newer version from GE reduces the cost to just 10 rupees per scan.