Inflatable Incubator for Premature Babies Wins Dyson’s $45K Prize
Monday, November 10, 2014
By Liz Stinson
In developing countries, childbirth is a high-risk affair—particularly if the baby’s born premature. In countries like the United States, we often put these babies in incubators until they’re able to make it on their own. But access to sophisticated equipment isn’t a given everywhere in the world. Incubators in particular are expensive, require constant electricity, and they can be complicated to operate and maintain. “I just thought, ‘there has to be a better way of doing this,’” says James Roberts.
His answer is MOM, an inflatable incubator designed in hopes of giving developing countries a low-cost way to care for prematurely-born infants. The project won this year’s James Dyson Award, which means Roberts will receive $45,000 to further develop the idea.
MOM began as a graduate project for Roberts’ industrial design course at Loughborough University in the UK. It was one of those projects where the teacher said anything is fair game as long as it solves a problem. Roberts picked a pretty ambitious one: keeping babies alive. “A lot of people told me to not do it because it was a big problem,” he says. “But I said, well, screw you guys, I’m going to have a go.”
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