The motto of Inhabitots’ parent site Inhabitat is: ‘design will save the world.’ Helping save the world one newborn at a time is Embrace, a $25 infant incubator designed to sustain premature and low birth weight babies, 80% of which are born in rural areas in developing countries. The cozy, sleeping bag shaped ‘Embrace’ is a thermoregulator which regulates a newborn’s temperature, subbing in for an inaccessible $20,000 traditional hospital baby incubator. Embrace was designed by ‘Extreme Affordability’ students at Stanford Institute of Design with the intent of creating a low cost baby incubator which could regulate body temperature without electricity or moving parts. Read on to learn how Embrace works.
The Embrace team traveled to Nepal to assess the needs of mothers giving birth to premature, low birth weight babies, 450 of whom die every hour in developing countries. They learned that the vast majority of babies born in outlying areas would never make it to a hospital, and “to save the maximum number of lives, their design would have to function in a rural environment… without electricity and be transportable, intuitive, sanitizable, culturally appropriate, and perhaps most importantly—inexpensive.”
Here’s the simplicity behind how Embrace works: Ten to fifteen minutes after its PCM (phase change material) pouch is filled with boiling water, Embrace reaches the critical temperature necessary for a baby’s survival. Embrace is able to retain heat for up to four hours before signaling that the pouch needs re-heating, and may then be re-charged by submersion in boiling water for a few minutes.
via Boing Boing