Incubators can prevent infant deaths from hypothermia, shorten hospital stays, and reduce the rate of neonatal complications that can lead to lifelong illness and disability. Unfortunately, they are far too expensive for many resource-constrained settings, particularly in developing countries. Additionally, most are not designed to withstand conditions in these environments, which can include high humidity and voltage surges linked to unreliable power sources.
With these challenges in mind, Design that Matters (DtM) partnered with CIMIT to develop a concept incubator that was uniquely suited to the context of a developing country, made with parts that were already abundant in this environment. The result was NeoNurture, also called the “car parts incubator,” which resembled a modern incubator but was made entirely from automotive equipment. Although the product was never brought to market, the process of developing NeoNurture yielded important insights about designing contextually appropriate products. This mini-case study explores these lessons.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Tim Prestero of Design that Matters for his participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.