Many of us are lucky to be born in a hospital where shortly after birth, if deemed necessary, we get scooped away to sleep in an incubator before we’re healthy enough to leave the premises. But for developing countries where families have no access to medical facilities, Embrace plans to solve that problem in a cost-effective way.
Embrace is a tiny sleeping bag that you can insert a wax pouch to be melted. Using minimal power, the combination of the wax pouch insert and the bag keeps the sleeping bag at an ideal body temperature to keep the infant inside at a steady heat. If the baby gets too hot, the bag material absorbs the heat from the baby. Conversely, heat is released when the baby’s body temperature drops too low. In one session, the wax can heat the warming bag between four to six hours depending on weather condition or the baby’s needs.
The Embrace sleeping bag is designed to be reused for up to 50 babies before depreciation. The bag is lined with medical-grade plastic which are sanitized before the next use. Embrace is designed by students of the Entrepreneurial Design For Extreme Affordability at Stanford University, who aimed to create a substitute for incubators that costs less than one percent of the standard technology for the same medical results.
Hospital incubators can cost anywhere between $20,000 t0 $200,000 to install. Co.Exist also notes that four million babies die in their first month of life because they were not properly assisted with body temperature regulation. Those that do make it go on to develop health problems such as diabetes and heart diseases.
Because Embrace utilizes widely available materials such as wax, the technology is cost-effective and quick to manufacture for places that need this the most. Forty percent of the world’s low-birth-weight babies were born in India. According to UNICEF, the mortality rate for newborns in the country is 39 per 1,000 births. This number contributes to approximately two-thirds of all deaths for infants under a single year old.
Embrace has been tested in several developing cities, including those in China, Somalia and India. The company aims to sell the product, which is estimated to cost less than $200 apiece, to places that can afford it to help reduce the cost of installing incubators. Meanwhile, it will also donate the warming sleeping bags to community clinics below poverty lines to learn more about how the technology can help around the world.
“In return they collect data so we can measure the impact so we can make changes,” said Brie Stewart, Embrace’s business development associate. “They give us stories and photos so we can relay that information to our donors to show impact.”
If you’re interested in getting involved to support a good cause, visit the Embrace official site to see how you can donate or volunteer for the company’s mission.