The Greatest Brains In Magnetic Assemblies
US hospitals that let us know “all is well and being monitored” are
nonexistent in Tanzania.
Very quickly it became clear that there was a need, and our team
went right to work on an infant vitals monitoring and regulation
system. Some of the design challenges of the project that we identified
were maintaining low-cost, designing for electrical versatility, while
utilizing easy-to-find component parts and ensuring durability with
long term device use.
Neonatal hypothermia, when an infant’s body temperature
drops to dangerous levels, is one of the major problems we
sought to target with our device. Our team needed some means
of replicating the functions of a standard hospital neonatal incubator in this setting. Given the space constraints of the neonatal
wards and the cultural stigma we observed against putting the
babies in a box, we knew our design couldn’t just be recreating a
Because of these constraints, we had the idea of taking a locally
available, off-the-shelf heating pad, and designing a control sys-
tem to control the power of the heating pad. This would allow us
to regulate the heat required by the infant based on temperature
readings were we acquiring in real time. We designed the system by
programming a low-cost Arduino microcontroller equipped with a
thermistor input to regulate the core body temperature of the infant
by turning the heating pad on and off with the needs of the child.
The control box houses an LCD screen which displays the
infant’s core body temperature along with other vitals. After being
swaddled in a blanket, the baby is placed onto the covered heating
pad, and the thermistor is tucked into the blanket with the child.
Kisarawe District Hospital’s neonatal ward