Got spare car parts? Let’s save some babies
Annually, four million babies die within a month of their birth. 1.8 million of these die from a lack of consistent heat before they gain body fat and are able to regulate their own body temperature—but if they spent just one week in an incubator, they would survive. Most of these babies are born into developing countries, and so they can’t afford conventional incubators, which cost approximately US$30,000 per unit and are expensive to run. Units are donated to them, but 98% stop functioning within five years, because when something small goes wrong and one breaks down, no one has the parts or the knowledge to fix it again. Instead of simply attempting to build a durable, low cost incubator, a team at Design That Matters took a more lateral approached and asked: “If incubators aren’t easily maintained in third world countries, then what equipment is?” The answer: cars. Mechanics can be found in most towns, and car parts are relatively cheap and are shipped even to developing communities—so the designers set out to build an incubator entirely out of car parts. Headlights were used for a heating element, dashboard fans for heat circulation, indicators and door chimes for alarms, engine intake-filters for removing dust, bugs and pathogens, and motorbike batteries for back-up power. The idea is, anyone who can fix a car can now fix this “NeoNurture” incubator. The company is still figuring out how to mass-produce their invention, because each component can’t be too specific to a model—but this ingenious innovation has a lot of potential.
(Image Credit: Design That Matters)