Professor Ashok Gadgil and Dr. Vi Rapp have developed an infant-warming device named as an honorable mention in the 2020 Patents for Humanity awards. The Infant Warmer is a low-cost, convenient, reusable and non-electric wraparound pad that maintains a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (the average human core temperature) for six hours. In areas where skin-to-skin contact between a mother and newborn is inadequate or unfeasible, the device provides warmth to help prevent infant hypothermia. The Warming Indicator, also designed by Gadgil and Rapp, is a phase-change material temperature indicator that improves reliability and reduces the cost of the original Infant Warmer design.
Both the Warming Indicator and Infant Warmer are being licensed to Global Newborn Solutions™, a non-profit with plans to scale the technologies in Africa. Global Newborn Solutions™ has partnered with Harvard Medical School to test the technology over 200 times in health centers throughout Rwanda. In trials, 98 percent of newborns achieved or maintained adequate temperatures with use of the warmer.
"We are very pleased to receive this recognition from the U.S. Patent Office," Gadgil said. "The ease of use, safety, and functionality of the Infant Warmer is now hugely improved with this Warming Indicator, according to the feedback from nurses in Rwanda hospitals where it was tested."