In the past semester, The Initiative has made significant strides in the development of its project. As part of the restructuring of the team, it was partitioned into four sub teams. An iteration of the bassinet has been developed that will house the electrically-powered heating element to regulate the temperature of the infant when the caregiver removes and places the kangaroo mother care component of the device into the bassinet. Further iterations are under consideration for next semester as the team continues to plan and prepare for its trip to their country of interest, Ethiopia.


According to the World Health Organization (Care of the Preterm and Low Birthweight Infant, 2017), “low birth weight contributes to 60 to 80% of all neonatal deaths”, annually, throughout the world. Due to low body fat, the neonates are unable to regulate their body temperature. This persists in low-resource countries, where quality care for neonates in this condition is unavailable.

Mission statement

To develop a low-cost solution to neonatal mortality due to low birthweight and hypothermia through sustained thermoregulation for patients in low-resource communities.

Our Project

The Initiative: Hybrid Infant Warmer is a University of Michigan student group developing a socially-engaged design solution to this global healthcare issue through the development of a low-cost hybrid infant warmer. Our team contains 4 different subteams - KC (kangaroo care) Carrier, Bassinet, Heating, and Business Development. The thermoregulation system we are developing consists of a clothing carrier supporting Kangaroo Care between the neonate and the caretaker as well as a heated bassinet regulating neonatal body temperature for extended time periods.

We developed two prototypes of the clothing carrier and one prototype of the bassinet. Currently, manufacturing of the second bassinet design iteration is ongoing, and electrical testing is being conducted to ensure safe, effective heating functionality.

We are building partnerships with community members in Ethiopia at the St. Paul Millennium Hospital to receive feedback on our model and co-develop our designs to create a product that is culturally fit and able to be implemented overseas. We are also communicating with low-resource communities in India to learn the challenges, needs, and opportunities of their market. Ultimately, our initial goal is to find a partner to, in the near-future, develop and test the clinical and social efficacy of our devices.


The outcomes of this project will be two devices used cohesively, both in hospitals and at home, to regulate the body temperature of low birthweight neonates. An effective business model needs to be developed to support stable production of the devices.


Project Leads

Sauma Du |

Ravi Tatineni |