The Stanford Challenge: A Life Saving Embrace (2)

Uploaded by TheStanfordChallenge on 06.04.2012

My name is Jane Chen.
I'm the CEO and co-founder of Embrace.
Embrace is a social enterprise that aims to develop a line
of affordable healthcare technologies for people in emerging
markets, starting with a low-cost infant incubator that
we've developed.
I graduated from the Business School at Stanford in 2008.
My first year at Stanford Business School I took a class
called "Design for Extreme Affordability" which is half
engineers/half MBAs who come together to develop affordable
technologies for people living on less than a dollar a day.
So the challenge posed to my team was "build a baby
incubator that costs less than 1% of the cost of a
traditional incubator"--which is $20,000 in the U.S.
The background of the problem we're addressing here: about
20 million low birth weight and premature babies are born
every year around the world.
Four million babies die in the first 28 days of their life.
That's 450 babies every hour.
One of the biggest problems they face is staying warm--
because they don't have enough body fat to regulate their
own temperature.
And as a result many either die or they grow up with severe
long-term health problems.
The most common solution to this problem is a traditional
But incubators are not only expensive, they require a
constant supply of electricity.
So you don't find them in rural areas where most of these
babies are dying.
And as a result what you see are really unsafe ineffective
solutions ranging from putting light bulbs over the babies,
to tying hot water bottles around their bodies, to just
holding them over hot coals.
So based on the research we did in India, we realized that
what was needed was not just a lower cost version of what
exists today but something that works without a constant
supply of electricity, that's easy enough for a mother or
midwife to use, that's portable, that's really easy to
And what we've come up with looks like this!
This is the Embrace Infant Warmer.
It looks like a little sleeping bag for an infant.
The core technology sits back here in this little pocket.
So this is a pouch of what's called a phase change material.
It's a waxlike substance that melts and then maintains a
temperature of 90 degrees fahrenheit--human body
temperature--for about four to six hours at a time.
The key is, once melted it maintains that temperature.
And that's the most important part of keeping these babies
alive and healthy.
Not just warmth, but the consistency of heat.
Embrace's long-term vision is to create a whole line of
affordable healthcare technologies and to leverage
everything we've learned about design, distribution and
manufacturing to come up with other products for the
communities that we serve.
And that's really the basis of what we're doing.