He dreamed a dream that will save the lives of mothers and newborns


Necessity may be the mother of invention, but sometimes it takes a father to birth a truly inventive creation. Using his daughter’s doll and a glass jar, Jorge Odón, a car mechanic from Argentina, has engineered a simple but effective tool that will have an enormous impact on maternal and perinatal health—especially in poor, rural areas where access to hospitals and sophisticated interventional care is limited and preventable death from childbirth complications remains high.

Inspired by a YouTube video about extracting a cork from a bottle, Odón, an inveterate tinkerer, dreamed up (literally) what is essentially an inflatable forceps that can be slipped over the head of a newborn to gently and safely pull it through the birth canal. The World Health Organization calls it an “exciting development” and Becton Dickinson has licensed the design for manufacture. (Mr. Odon will receive royalties.)

From Google Glass to hi-tech pedometers, wearable tech and health/fitness apps take up a lot of mindspace and real estate (virtual and brick and mortar) and their long-term value to society is hard to predict. Yet, it took the power of one man’s imagination and simple tools (plus the reach of YouTube) to potentially save the lives of millions.

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