This guy opened up a medical device but found a Game Boy instead
In the past 150 years or so, humanity has made great strides in keeping the most at-risk of us alive. We've managed to pretty much eradicate diseases like polio or smallpox, vastly improve treatment for ailments such as HIV or cancer, and we've even created prosthetics and pacemakers in order to support our bodies when our organs can no longer do so.
With so much technological advancement, I'm sure you're as curious as I am to find out what goes into the complex devices that keep us wading around in this particular plane of existence. As you probably know, Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969 with a processing power equivalent to one of today's basic digital watches, but what about our medical devices?
One Twitter user found out that instead of employing some endlessly complicated circuitry incomprehensible to all but the most highly trained, the tech present in some of our medical machines is not as foreign as you might think. Jan Henrik found himself in possession of a ECG-Trigger-Unit box by the German manufacturer, Medical Imaging Electronics.
It's ostensibly used to monitor a patient's heartbeat, and employs a 240x160-pixel screen as a control screen, allowing you to adjust settings on the device. Out of little but sheer curiosity, Jan cracked it open, but instead of finding complicated wiring, he found out that screen was from a pretty familiar device.
"Wait what?" said Jan, and "wait what" was right: that screen you see there is actually from the top half of the 2005 portable video game console the Gameboy Advance SP, repurposed in the years gone by to monitor a heartbeat instead of displaying your consistent failures to catch Rayquaza on Pokémon Emerald.
Pretty cool, right? I think you'll also agree that this discovery kind of raises a whole lot more questions. Perhaps one of your queries was covered by these inquisitive people on Twitter.
As with anything on the internet; if you dig deep enough, you'll find some pretty cool answers. Twitter user @SlipperySeal talked up the versatility of a Game Boy Advance SP, explaining: "gameboys were used a lot for stuff like this. sewing machines etc. before raspberry pi, GB was a cheap hackable 'micro controller+display'". Pretty neat, right?
Of course, with this being the internet, it was only a matter of times before the jokes began about pretty much the only Game Boy Advance game with a decidedly medical theme.
It's been over a decade since the Game Boy Advance SP came out, and for me, it'll always stand strong as a relic of my childhood, but with today's game advancements, I guess I won't be playing it much in 2017, or in the future.
To that end, it's about time that we repurposed the old parts, and what better way to do that than in a medical device that could help to save lives? I have no idea when next we'll come across an old piece of video game history, but I hope they're doing just as much good as this one here.