Low cost, portable, locally fabricated Neonatal Incubators
Portable neonatal incubators, made using laser cutters and 3D-printers. Easy assembly and use. All at a fraction of the cost.
With the shift in economic and technological growth, the Global human population growth amounts to around 83 million annually. With such a high number, every day hundreds of newborns are introduced into our lives.
However, one of the very first challenges faced by neonates (a baby in the first 4 weeks of birth) is that of survival. The newly formed body of a neonate is incapable of keeping itself warm and can suffer from hypothermia, that’s why the warmth of the mother’s body is so vital. At the same time, sunlight is also very important for the growth of neonates in developing many bodily functions such as the health of his/her nervous system.
Sometimes, even all of these are not enough
Sometimes even a mother’s warmth cannot provide the required heat; sometimes sunlight cannot provide enough nutrients to the newborn.
For special cases such as those, incubators are absolutely essential for the neonate. Incubators can control and monitor the baby throughout its tough journey of survival.
The tough-to-swallow harsh pill of our reality is that a lot of clinics do not have the incubators readily available. On the flip sides, some hospitals’ few incubators are always filled and even if a parent manages an incubator at a hospital, the cost of appointing a baby can be astronomical.
30% of the deaths of neonates are due to the lack of accessibility to incubation facilities.
With no major development in recent years and only a select few working on the improvements of incubators, this number might just increase.
A false general consensus exists with the populace that medical equipment and good medical treatment must cost an arm and a leg. Development of medical equipment and solutions remain relatively stagnant nowadays due to the huge cost in research and Development (R&D) of a new concept.Our idea was to bypass this cost barrier with the aid of 3D printing technology.
With access to 3D printing and laser-cutting technology 100s of different prototypes can be modeled, built and tested at a fraction of the cost.
Bioforge - a team of engineers, doctors, designers and other like-minded individuals-. Bioforge is constantly looking for existing problems in the health-care centers, narrowing them down in terms of our urgency. After which we consult experts in relevant fields to gather accurate information which is then passed along our teams to think up a new angle, an innovative way, a more feasible way to tackle that particular issue. Our new project is the redesigned Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) built using aforementioned techniques. This is no ordinary establishment.
Bioforge can quite literally change the world with its new design of NICUs with far greater capabilities and features made at 1/10th of the cost of current market models. With its easy-to-assemble nature, this can also be set up in distressed areas, such as refugee camps.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Dhaka, Bangladesh
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
What makes our solution innovative:
The current project uses fabrication technology to address a sector that has been largely stagnant around South East Asia. i.e. the advancement of neonatal Intensive care.
3D printing and Laser cutting opens the door to major reduction in cost of medical equipment, directly reducing cost of effective healthcare; allowing a larger demographic to access better healthcare options.
This can lead to a nation-wide shift in neonatal care, thus decreasing the abhorrently high death rate of neonates.
The success of the project will also allow us to expand into other sectors of healthcare equipment, including dialysis machines and ancillary equipment.
How technology is integral to our solution:
At the core of our solution is the our accessibility to 3D designing, printing and laser cutting. When done in-house, these procedures vastly cuts down on the cost of designing, testing prototypes as well as lends itself to redesigning and revision easily. It also allows models to be made locally and can be transported easily in a small scale.
Micro-controllers like the Arduino are used in an effective and fail-safe temperature regulation system, and HR monitoring. Built in LEDs allow cost effective and appropriate photo-therapy.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
The incubator units are in prototype stage and we will work to set up a working, thoroughly tested and finalized model with a year.
Additionally, our final goal within 12 months is to supply these incubators, at a minimal cost, to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh as neonatal healthcare is a big priority at the site.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
Within 3-5 years we hope to be in partnership with clinics, doctors and hospitals nationwide.
Distributing our NICU units in remote areas where neonatal care is not as advanced. Our units will be accessible, available at an affordable price, user friendly and can be made relatively quickly using 3-D printing.
Additionally we also hope to supply the units around Dhaka City, as hospitals tend to have very expensive and often a shortage of incubators, thus increasing accessibility.
Apart from NICU units, we hope to branch out into other healthcare areas, such as prosthesis.
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
The countries where we currently operate:
Where we plan to expand in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
Once we have a working model we plan to host a small convention for doctors from different clinics and hospitals to showcase our unit and pitch our idea to them.
We also plan to link our selves with World Health Organization and United Nations High Commission for refugees in order to distribute NICUs in the Rohingya Refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Our team also consists of doctors who have personal links a number of medical colleges and universities, allowing us to get our products where it needs to be.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
Provided the pilot testing process progresses as planned, then our target is to reach to over 1000+ neonatal cases in the next 12 months. Within 3 years we hope to expand this to +10,000 including cases within and beyond Bangladesh.
How our solution team is organized:Hybrid of For Profit and Nonprofit
How many people work on our solution team:5
How many years we have been working on our solution:Less than 1 year
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
The team consists of a doctor who, besides of his medical expertise, is capable of 3D designing, printing and laser cutting. He is also highly networked in the medical sector, allowing him to access various specialists as needed
Mircocontroller coding, program design and electronics is done by a young graduate from BRAC university, certified in the fields of CSE, Electronics and Applied Physics.
Design, printing and safety testing are also seen by a graduate in biochemistry and biotechnology.
Business strategy is overseen by an individual with experience in working in the multinational corporate sector for 13 years.
Our revenue model:
The neonatal units will be sold at a low cost that covers the companies production costs. Later updates of the incubator can be bought by the medical institutions that will be assisted in upgrading and repairing the units. Further profits can then be used to develop similar equipment in the fields of neonatology and also beyond that, eventually setting up one of the regions first medical equipment manufacturing institutions that uses novel fabrication technologies to maintain quality but drive costs down.
Why we are applying to Solve:
We believe Solve can help us in accessing a wider, global network where we may receive mentor ship and advice from individuals working in a similar sector as us. Also we believe Solve can help us get the word out about our work, allowing us to build a versatile network. As the organization is not yet generating profit, funding and investment options will also be valuable to us at the time being.
The key barriers for our solution:
1. Testing the incubator in a controlled environment from which data can be collected.
Solve can help by improving our data collection and presentation.
2. Getting the right people to know about the technology.
Solve can help by expanding our network nationally, and more importantly, internationally.
3. Managing growth and development of the organization
Solve can help us with mentorship in the respective required fields, funding and investment opportunities
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers: