Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Spring 2012


Charles Weber

Course Title

Technology Entrepreneurship

Course Number

ETM 561/661


Business planning, Technological innovations, Entrepreneurship, Open source software -- Applications to medical technologies


Open Source Medical Solutions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the development of medical technologies through open source principles.

OS Medical is dedicated to developing low-cost medical devices. The first device, currently in development, is the Blind Vision Project. Worn as a conventional pair of glasses, the BVP utilizes ultrasonic sensors to perceive physical objects, transmitting their proximity with massaging motors connected to the earpieces of the glasses. The device’s range can be easily adjusted to facilitate indoor or outdoor use. The device is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which is recharged with a standard USB cable.

3 million Americans are currently blind and 25 million suffer from impaired vision. Blindness can lead to a variety of other health conditions such as depression, diabetes and high cholesterol. Globally, 40 million are blind and 285 million visually impaired. In developing, lack of mobility can dramatically shorten life expectancy. The BVP will strive to increase the mobility and improve the life of blind people around the world.

Both blind people and advocacy groups have expressed interest in the BVP, though similar devices have failed to catch on in the past. The failure of similar devices is generally attributed to a lack of functionality or unwieldy appearance. Competing devices are currently in development by Oxford University, Brainport Technology and potentially Apple Computers. By harnessing the power of open source development, OS Medical will strive to become the preeminent assistive device design community.

OS Medical is committed to adhering to open source principles. All design specifications and IP will be published freely. Thriving open source communities exist to support software applications such as Linux, Mozilla and Drupal. Open source hardware communities are growing quickly. OS Medical will be the first open source community dedicated specifically to medical devices.

Production of devices will be performed in partnership with electrical engineering classes at universities. The BVP will be delivered as a kit, which will be assembled by students as they learn basic engineering skills. Completed kits will be donated to blindness advocacy organizations for distribution to users. The BVP would replace the kits currently used, which have minimal social value and are generally thrown away or salvaged for parts at the conclusion of the class. OS Medical is currently in discussions with Prof Phillip Wong to develop a pilot program in conjunction with his Electrical Programming class.

In 2013, OS Medical would like to provide the BVP to users free of cost. With an initial goal of 200 devices, OS Medical will require $30,000 in start-up funding. This will provide for the components of the device and administrative costs for the website which would support the OS Medical community. OS Medical would like to develop additional devices to serve other disabilities by 2015 and grow to serve 4,000 users by 2017.

OS Medical will strive to both supply devices and serve as a cornerstone in the open source medical device community. OS Medical will serve as a conduit connecting disability advocacy organizations, educational institutions and open source developers to facilitate the design and distribution of the next generation of assistive devices.

Rami Alshafi is the founder of OS Medical and will serve as Executive Director. He is currently completing a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering at Portland State University. He is assisted by Joseph King, a recent graduate of the Portland State MBA program, who will sit on the OS Medical Board of Directors.


This project is only available to students, staff, and faculty of Portland State University

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