Neonatal incubators are overall pretty simple devices, but they’re bulky and are often quite expensive. In order to help make them standard equipment in even some of the most remote and poorest clinics in the world, students at Rice University created an incubator for about $250 in parts, and that can be flat packed for easy shipment to anywhere.
The main parts of the incubator are laser cut out of plywood,with acrylic windows built-in on the top and the side. The electronics are actually kept in a separate box, allowing local craftsmen to build the part where the baby lays while using the electronics obtained on the cheap or donated by charities. The designs should be soon available for download to use in building their own incubator, allowing just about anyone to make them and flat pack ship them to any clinic with an address. Sounds like IKEA, the world’s largest charity, may be the best partner for this job.
Here are the Rice students behind the project explaining the different design details of the incubator: