Infant Incubator for Rural Health Centers

The goal of the project is to improve the first prototype developed in the IDDS 2008 at MIT. The purpose is to develop a set of low-cost modules for the infant incubator. The first proposal is to engineer a monitoring system which will record, graph and adjust the main parameters as temperature and humidity.

Our next steps are to develop the modular design of the infant incubator including alternative sources of power, heating/humidifier option, filtering system, pulse oxymeter, storage drawers and so on. When we build our ultimate prototype, we will be ready for field trials in Peru and other potential locations in Latin America. To define our business strategy, we will make market feasibility studies.


The project will be implemented through four components:

a) Component I: Assessment of hardware and software
Through this component, open source hardware and software will be identified, assessed and clearly defined, based on a multidimensional analysis of technical feasibility including the identification of potential bottlenecks and critical factors in implementing this system in rural environments. This component is expected to produce a baseline documented and developed in accordance with clearly defined parameters and criteria.

b) Component II: Design of monitoring system
The purpose of this component is to propose the most viable solution for the monitoring system including safety standards, interface criteria, availability of materials and portability of the equipment. To this end, the component calls for preparing a technical proposal for developing the software which will include a graph option to see data, an automatic adjustment of parameters, recording of data and a warning system. This component is expected to produce technology and software for the new monitoring system developed and ready for integrating this module to our prototype of infant incubator.

c) Component III: Development of control system, interfaces, hardware assembling and software modules.
The objective of this component is to establish and build the monitoring system. At a minimum, the following outcomes are anticipated from this component:
- The controller is based on micro computerized system.
- Detachable monitoring system unit.
- Individual sensor for air and skin.
- The digital display system provided to set the required temperature as well as to measure infant’s temperature and air temperature.
- Displays RH.
- Memory back-up.
- Comprehensive alarms: Air Temperature Low / High, Skin Temperature Low / High, Sensor Failure, Low Battery, Heater Failure, Power Failure and Fan Failure.

d) Component IV: Testing and Debugging. Evaluate the experience gained.
The objective of this component is to capture, evaluate and disseminate the project activities and outcomes, and gain a better understanding of how to design low-cost modules for our infant incubator. The following activities will be carried out to attain this objective:
- Establish a set of test and record data to verify safety and appropriateness of our prototype.
- Develop a manual for the construction of this monitoring system.
- Disseminate the lessons learned via Appropedia and interviews to local partners.

The executing organism for the project will be Quantum Solutions, a private Think Tank and Social Business Incubator. This organization has the legal, administrative and financial capacity to implement all project activities. Additionally, an executing unit will be created in order to support project activities. To support and facilitate the tasks to be performed for program activities, a technical team will be created. The technical team will consist of two consultants: an electronic engineer and a software engineer. These representatives will monitor and oversee project execution and support the executing unit so that it is able to perform its tasks efficiently.

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