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What Factors Do You Think Enabled Iddan, an Engineer with No Medical Background, to Pioneer the Development of Wireless Endoscopy?

By jamjam Apr 11, 2010 335 Words
What factors do you think enabled Iddan, an engineer with no medical background, to pioneer the development of wireless endoscopy?

Counterintuitive though it may seem, sometimes NOT being an expert in a particular field is conducive to creating breakthrough innovation in that field. Because Iddan was not a gastroenterologist, he was not “trapped” in the paradigm that the bowel must be scoped using a camera attached to a flexible rod (an endoscope). Instead, he applied concepts from his own background in guided missile technology to the problem and developed a device that was more like a tiny guided missile to traverse the bowel without being attached to anything. Iddan’s expertise in optics was definitely useful for this development, as was his familiarity with charge coupled devices and CMOS technology.

2.To what degree would you characterize Given’s development of the camera pill as “science-push” versus “demand-pull”?

The camera pill illustrates the fact that many innovations are not strictly science-push or demand-pull, but rather are a more iterative combination of the two. When Scapa approached Iddan about the problem of viewing the small bowel that represented demand pull. However, at that time science had not really yielded a solution that was apparent to Iddan. Later, however, developments in optics technology and charge-coupled devices suggested a possible solution to Iddan (just as the availability of miniature spy cameras did for Swain’s team); thus science revealed a new potential response to an existing problem.

3.What were the advantages and disadvantages of Iddan and Meron collaborating with Dr. Swain’s team?

Iddan was likely more familiar with the mechanical engineering aspects of the camera pill, but Swain’s team was probably much more familiar with the anatomical demands that would be placed upon the device, and the diagnostic objectives. The two teams thus had complementary skills. Furthermore, by collaborating, they avoided competing to be first to patent and introduce the device and thus avoided needless costs and price competition.

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