Our Gallery at One Market just set up twelve new exhibits that come under the heading of Design in the Public Interest. These exhibits feature products, places, and processes where design is used for common good instead of monetary profit. In a series of twelve blog articles over a few weeks, I thought I would pick them off one at a time. So far I have covered all but one of them:
- See Better to Learn Better Exhibit
- Laboratory to Learn Exhibit
- Reclaiming Public Space Exhibit
- Making Sanitation Safe Exhibit
- A Platform Worth Spreading Exhibit
- A Building That Heals Exhibit
- Citizen-Powered Change Exhibit
- Illuminating Possibility Exhibit
- Freedom to Move Exhibit
- A Place to Call Home Exhibit
- Easing the Way Home Exhibit
Our last, but not least, one is Embrace the Future.
- Autodesk Inventor // more
- San Francisco Chronicle: Embrace infant sleeping bags save lives
- Architizer: Architects, You Can Help Save The World! See 5 Remarkable Projects From New Autodesk Exhibition
Many families in India wait to name their babies until nine months after they are born. The reason? High infant mortality rates, caused in part by the inability of low-birth-weight babies to regulate their own body temperature. For example, Shivamadamma, from a farming family in rural India, gave birth to a premature baby boy weighing only 3.5 pounds. Keeping her baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was impossibly expensive. Fortunately, doctors were able to provide thermal support to Shivamadamma's baby with the Embrace Nest infant warmer. Now nine months old and feeding well, the baby is ready for his naming ceremony.
Here are the saddening facts:
- 20 million low-birth-weight and premature babies are born each year.
- 450 low-birth-weight and premature babies die each hour.
Crises like this are not uncommon. Globally, 4 million premature babies die each year within their first month of life. Those that survive often have lifelong problems such as early onset of diabetes, heart disease, and low IQ. The tragedy here is not just how vulnerable so many newborns are, but that their suffering is largely preventable. Traditional incubators cost many thousands of dollars. People without access have historically resorted to desperate measures, tying hot water bottles around babies, placing them under light bulbs, or holding them over hot coals -- all well-intentioned, but dangerous alternatives.
The Embrace Nest is a low-cost solution (only $200) that doesn't require electricity or special training -- pioneered by Stanford design students as a class assignment. It has three parts: a sleeping bag, heater, and pouch of phase-change material. Once heated, the phase-change material is placed into a compartment in the sleeping bag and can maintain a constant 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit over 4 hours. Embrace is currently working in India and emergency settings on a case-by-case basis and is looking to expand its work through partnerships with non-government organizations (NGOs).
Embrace's theory of change is not just about babies nestled warmly in one of public interest design's most critical innovations. It's also about global sustainability. Embrace is helping to minimize long-term stress on health-care systems, decrease birth rates (as Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus has argued, parents don't have to bear six children in the hopes of raising two if they know their children will survive), and strengthen the economy and political stability. After all, healthy babies today grow up to be engaged citizens tomorrow.
How's that for one little sleeping bag invented by a few students?
Thanks to Global Content Manager, Matthew Tierney, and Brand Marketing Manager, Grace Hom, for content contained in this blog article. This is just one of the many exhibits in the gallery at One Market in San Francisco. The gallery is open to the public on Wednesdays from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission is free. Visit us.
Efficiency is alive in the lab.