Newborn Warming with Otter

Each year over 4M infants in developing countries die within a month of birth due to complications of prematurity, low birth weight and infection. We could prevent more than 1.3M of these deaths by providing at-risk newborns with a warm and clean environment in which to grow stronger. Conventional newborn incubators are complex, expensive to own and operate and difficult to keep clean. Otter is a durable, washable warming bassinet for premature and low birthweight (LBW) newborns. A single-newborn warming mattress that supplies steady warming at body temperature, Otter functions as a stand-alone, but also enables treatment by DtM’s Firefly and conventional overhead phototherapy devices, without fear of hypothermia. The ADE team of engineers and business students will focus on pushing Otter Warmer alpha prototype towards volume manufacture and scale. Challenges ahead of Otter include iterating on the user interface and temperature control system, ensuring that both are “hard to use wrong” and in compliance with international medical and regulatory standards. We will also examine the “bill of materials,” or the components that make Otter, to identify the best vendors and the most cost-effective manufacturing processes. The Olin and Babson team will visit Vietnam in January to interview both potential users in rural hospitals and the team at DtM’s manufacturing partner MTTS.

Product Requirements

More details to come

Technical Development

The team is preparing for manufacture a well-tested product developed by Design That Matters and their partners. This includes ensuring IEC compliance, investigating lower cost heating materials, and manufacturing methods. This project is in progress, more details to come.

Interaction Design

Details to come.

Social Return on Investment (SROI)

Details to come.


  • interaction design
  • global health
  • newborn safety
  • international development
  • IEC compliance