In Third World countries, parts of automobiles have been turned into inexpensive medical devices. These devices have actually saved lives in desperately poor countries.
An entire incubator can be made out of almost all old car parts -- a pair of headlights for a heat source, a car filter to keep out germs and even the seat belts can be utilized to hold the baby safely.
Auto parts continue to be used in medical devices, because often times in many poor countries, if donated medical equipment breaks down -- it's just thrown away because no one can afford new parts or repairs.
"The thought of our team was that if we use parts that are locally available and that are able to be fixed by local service people, they could keep this equipment running," said Dr. Kris Olson of the Global Health Initiative Center.
Case in point: Because Third World medical facilities often only get a few hours of power a day, the power source could come from an unlikely source -- a motorcycle battery
Olson leads a network of teaching hospitals and engineering schools whose students have come up with different designs for the equipment. The students hope to save some of the 4 million babies who die every year before they're a month old, often for lack of simple devices and solutions.
For example, a cheap plastic valve could save many of the million babies who die at birth for lack of a device to blow air into their lungs, Olson explained.