The man behind the idea--Dr. Jonathan Rosen of Boston University--had many conversations with health care providers working in impoverished areas. As a longtime proponent of sustainable technology, he eventually realized that "no matter how remote the locale, there always seemed to be a Toyota 4Runner in working order." Rosen's wheels kept spinning until finally an idea was born:
The heat source is a pair of headlights. A car door alarm signals emergencies. An auto air filter and fan provide climate control.
But this contraption has nothing to do with transportation. It is a sturdy, low-cost incubator, designed to keep vulnerable newborns warm during the first fragile days of life.
Unlike the notoriously high-maintenance incubators found in neonatal intensive care units in the United States, it is easily repaired, because all of its operational parts come from cars.
And while incubators can cost $40,000 or more, this one can be built for less than $1,000.
It's not the only solution to the problem of infant mortality, but it's a good one--and you can thank Dr. Rosen and the world's automakers for it. -- Richard Read
[more info at DesignThatMatters.org]