Age No Barrier To Innovation

Joe O’Brien, 71, has developed a portable blood lab that could change the world.

Joe O’Brien spent a large part of his professional life in the UK where he worked in the engineering, petrochemical and pharma industries. But work alone was never enough to satisfy his enquiring mind. His interests were wide and he admits to having an “obsessive interest” in science, especially physics. In 2012 the idea for what has now become the award winning Medimorpho Micro Blood Lab was born. Joe then spent three years refining the concept for his compact, cloud-based, GSM-enabled, portable blood cell counter and measurement device. Joe’s technology has the potential to revolutionise how blood samples are taken and analysed. At present samples are sent to labs for processing and little about this method has changed in decades. If Joe gets his way, however, every doctor’s surgery in the world will have a Medimorpho and routine blood samples will be processed by the GP in less than 10 minutes at a fraction of the cost of using a lab. “Blood analysis requiring the transportation of samples to a lab followed by a wait for results was a problem begging for a solution,” Joe explains. “The model currently in use is overly centralised and 80 percent of the analysis at the world’s 35,000 blood labs is completely routine and could be done at healthcare facilities. Yes, there were complex technical issues to overcome with the development of Medimorpho, but it was a question of becoming immersed and finding the solutions. The machine itself is about the size of a ladies’ Hermes clutch bag, but half the price. “People talk abut putting an old head on young shoulders. While developing Medimorpho I have had experience of the inverse! I found myself working with a team of young people and it was exhilarating. What takes place is lively and dynamic and life enhancing. But what about respect for age? Well, it was blended in equal measure with forceful and irreverent push! I am grateful for the experience - one that cannot be potted or preserved.

"What takes place is lively and dynamic and life enhancing."

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