September 14, 2011
Alarmed by what they learned about infant mortality rates during a class at Stanford University, a team of graduates last year launched Embrace–a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) social enterprise venture to develop a short-term infant incubator, costing under $200. Each year, 20 million babies are born prematurely and dependent on incubators. Over 4 million babies die in developing countries alone, where their mothers are not able to get them to incubators–due largely to distance from hospitals–within the small window of time available. With the promise of making the infant warmer available in rural communities and even urban slums, that is where this innovative new product fills a void.
As explained in this ABC News video from late-2010, Embrace’s first major product effectively looks like a sleeping bag for newborns. But it’s obviously much more sophisticated than that. A wax-and-water heating system and a seamless interior maximize sanitation. The product is currently in the final stages of development in preparation for a pilot in India, and a planned rollout to the rest of the developing world.