Designer Jack Albert Trew’s Spokefuge harnesses the power of the pedal to help doctors in remote areas test blood without electric medical equipment. Trew’s simple design uses a bike wheel to power a centrifuge, which enables medical professionals to test for issues like anemia, bone marrow failure and leukemia. The low-tech device was developed to help people living in rural regions across Africa.
Trew’s Spokefuge was inspired by the very regions it was designed for. During his research, the young designer found that the bicycle was the favored method of transportation in rural African areas, so he decided to put the already present wheels in these communities to a different use.
Blood samples are taken and put into capillary tubes, which are then inserted into a simple rubber casing that fits onto the centrifugal arm that connects to the tire, all of which Trew made using a 3D printer. Once enough capillary tubes are filled to attach to balance out the rear tire, the user pedals the bicycle in a fixed position for 10 minutes. The force created by the spinning wheel will separate the blood samples so they can be tested.
The results are comparable to expensive electric centrifuge devices, and can be carried out anywhere off the grid. Trew’s Spokefuge is not only effective, but also costs next to nothing, only requiring the use of an old bicycle to provide modern medical testing.