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A doctor in rural Vietnam has made a normally expensive piece of hospital equipment using his computer and cheap parts. He now hopes to spread his invention to other developing countries.

Endoscopes are used to examine the inside of a patient's body. They cost about US$30,000, and Vietnam only has one in each province.

Nguyen Phuoc Huy spent two years developing a cheap, homemade endoscope that relays images taken inside a patient's body to a computer using a webcam.

He bought the microscope for about US$800, and used a system of lenses linked to a webcam that cost just US$30. A computer with a colour printer processes the images, and the images are recorded and put on a patient database.

Nguyen taught himself computing, optics and mathematics and can now make a complete endoscope system in one week. He has built one for himself, two for colleagues and plans to make systems for other poor hospitals in Vietnam and even for medical centres in other countries.

Link to full BBC Online article