• Dec 17, 2008

Incubators for newborn babies are tasked with providing a clean and warm environment for children too small or premature to survive on their own. While the concept sounds rather simple, late-model incubators found in our hospitals are decidedly sophisticated and most require highly specialized parts. Making matters worse, the machines are notoriously high maintenance and cost upwards of $40,000 each. While the problem is bothersome in rich nations, thousands of incubators sit in disrepair -- hopelessly unusable -- in third-world countries.

Dr. Jonathan Rosen from the Boston University School of Management was determined to solve the dilemma. During his travels, Rosen observed that no matter how remote the locale, there always seemed to be a Toyota 4Runner in working order, a realization that resulted in a clever idea. Working with Design That Matters, Rosen decided to start with a 4Runner and "take away all the parts that weren't an incubator." The result was a new automotive part -based incubator that employs car headlamps for heat, auto filters for air purification, and a door alarm to signal emergencies. And that is just for starters. Best of all, the resulting contraption is easily transportable, simple to operate, reliable and only costs about $1,000 per device. While the 4Runner 4Babies incubator won't solve all of the world's problems, the idea is brilliant enough to earn our kudos.

[Source: New York Times, photo by Design that Matters]




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The best use for a 4Runner. Ever.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So I can pump exhaust from my truck into an incubator and be green?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great idea, There is a fellow that designed a KD wheel chair. His group gives tehm away in Africa and So Pacific. It gets people up out of the dirt.If you haveeverspent time in a whlchair, you'd know how important it is to not lay in the dirt.
      Likewise this incubator can get shipped in to the countries in parts and may avoid taxes, and being stolen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @7 Mobius1: Not just the door issue. What about the lights as heat source? Should a child's life depend on British Leyland electricals?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Fabulous! Thinking like this will save the planet. KISS at it's best.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess it's better than using used microwaves.
      • 6 Years Ago
      brilliant!
      • 6 Years Ago
      At least the cup (bottle?) holder is better made than those in a BMW 5-series.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the reason that he took a 4Runner as donor for this.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrk6vsb77xk

      You'll find this car anywhere in this world.