The other day I picked up an article (at the BBC) about a new tool to help with birthing babies. It replaces the current tool, forceps, when babies are hard to extract from the birthing canal. It’s new, novel, revolutionary and was invented by … an auto mechanic!
He had this idea after a friend had shown him a technique for extracting a cork that has been pushed into a bottle. You can get it out without breaking the bottle using a plastic bag.
As the video shows not only is there no damage to the bottle there is also no damage to the cork.
Now all of you who have never gone through the parenting experience are likely wondering what’s so revolutionary. Well 1 in 10 births require some sort of birthing tool to help extract the baby. Like forceps or the suction cup based device called the ventouse. Or the Mamlstrom extractor. All these tools can damage the baby and, possibly, the mother. What that translates to is 5.6 million babies are stillborn or die after birth every year. And 260,000 mothers die as well.
So anything that can change this situation for the better is a good thing.
Now my mind can work in strange ways and this time it didn’t let me down, nope. This time it brought another article I’d recently seen back to the forefront of my memory because something about that article reminded me of this one.
The article in question was a Daily Mail article about mosquitoes and how ineffective they really are at hitting the target (a vein with blood) after they have landed and poked their little probe into you.
Why? What could be the similarity?
Well the tool that Mr. Odom has invented appears in a picture at the top of the BBC article:
When I read how it works (the white plastic tube splits to let the bag push down past the central shaft) my mental image of it almost instantly inspired a recall of the mosquito’s tool because once inside your skin the mosquito’s proboscis splits in two and reveals the mouth part that actually does the work.
Similar mechanical problems with similar technical solutions.