Classic Retro Video Game Blog

8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

September 2017 Retro Gaming Article

September 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After seeing an ECG unit powered by Gameboy, we remember the Atari Jaguar dental camera

Medical ECG unit powered by Game Boy Advance
Prior to the Coleco Chameleon's plummet, we learned the Atari Jaguar mold was purchased by a company making dental cameras. So yeah, here's a GBA powering an Electrocardiogram unit.
OK, I'll admit this isn't a very good analogy or comparison, but we shouldn't be too surprised to see repurposed electronics in a foreign product. I'm not sure this was done via a licensing agreement. Having the GBA logos on the display, behind the ECG's bezel, seems fishy. But who knows.

Initially upon hearing this story, it seemed as though this ECG was only employing the GBA monitor. However, it turns out the entire Game Boy Advance is deconstructed and embedded inside this German manufactured device. I saw a PDF laying out the benefits of using the GBA, touting it's ROM loading ability as a factor for loading software onto the GBA for use with the ECG unit. It's interesting if nothing else.

This sort of repurposing isn't too uncommon. The Game Boy Advance was inexpensive, hackable and already suited for loading software. It also predated the single board computers (SBC) we see today, like the Raspberry Pi. Thus, embedding a GBA may have been the best (potentially illegal) route to take.

Medical ECG unit powered by Game Boy Advance The GBA screen is apparent in the photo, but the innards of the GBA SP model are used to run the ECG software. More than just making use of the display.
Medical ECG unit powered by Game Boy Advance The closeup shows the Game Boy Advance lettering is still present inside the ECG unit.

Ever Visit A Dentist With A Jag?

Imagin Systems purchased the molds for the Atari Jaguar and used the design to house their dental cameras.While this unit does not employ any of the electronic innards of the Jaguar video game console, it's an example of technology finding a more economical route toward a goal. It's much easier to use an existing mold than having one custom made.

Imagin Systems dental camera Imagin Systems dental camera housed in a case formed from the mold for the Atari Jaguar.
Imagin Systems dental camera Imagin Systems dental camera.

« Return to the main Retro Gaming Blog 2017