On a field research trip in 2012, we met a very sick newborn whose severe jaundice couldn’t be treated with conventional phototherapy. After two days of treatment with Firefly, baby Khang was out of danger and on his way to perfect health. His exhausted but happy parents invited us to follow them home from the hospital.
We just returned to the same village in Vietnam, going door-to-door through the narrow alleys in the hopes of finding the family. Meeting baby Khang as a four-year-old was a powerful reminder of why DtM exists.
We just returned from Vietnam, where we followed up on Firefly installations in and around Hanoi, and tested our Otter Newborn Warmer prototype with nurses and doctors at rural hospitals, and with our partner MTTS.
As we begin the monumental process of field data reduction, here’s a quick slideshow of DtM at work! Also, a thousand thank yous to our many hosts in Vietnam.
It’s #GivingTuesday and we’re asking you to support the design of a better world for everyone. Last year’s year-end fundraising campaign was a record-breaker. Your donation will help us save newborn lives.
We are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Chao Foundation and TFish Fund to advance the development of the Otter newborn warmer. Based in the Bay area, the Chao Foundation supports nonprofit and public welfare initiatives that improve children’s health in developing countries.
The DtM team is hitting the road for a field test of our Otter newborn warmer prototype in Vietnam with potential users at rural hospitals, and with our manufacturing partner MTTS. Here’s a quick slideshow of our research prep and some old favorite photos from past field studies in Vietnam, Nepal, Benin and Bangladesh.
It isn’t enough to evaluate our work relative to our own expectations. How might we assess a program like Firefly compared to other global health program and other potential social impact investments? Join us as we unravel the mysteries of ROI and $/DALY.
If you’re determined to get your ideas past the beautiful prototypes and the promising pilots to achieve international scale, you must read Geoffrey Moore’s framework for consumer expectations, technology strategy and product positioning.
What is it like to personally deliver a Firefly phototherapy device to the small hospital in your family’s hometown? Suzanne Graves tells her story.
In a 12-week design sprint this summer, we developed a revolutionary new medical device to protect vulnerable newborns from hypothermia, preventable illness and death. Here’s a recap in text and video!
Three members of our summer student design team discuss their experiences, their favorite parts of the design process and where they see themselves headed as distinguished DtM alumni.
In the process of building the Otter alpha prototype, we learned some painful lessons and picked up some useful new tricks. These brief notes may save you time on your own projects!
DtM has just teamed up with students and faculty at Olin and Babson Colleges to help prepare the Otter alpha prototype for volume manufacture and scale.
At the end of July, the focus of our summer design sprint shifted from background research and product positioning to prototype fabrication. We have been drinking lots of coffee and racking up the miles, dividing our time between DtM’s Salem studio and the Autodesk BUILD Space in Boston.
Over the years, we’ve accumulated an invaluable collection of inexpensive tools to support 3D-printing. Check out this list of our favorite gadgets.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It takes a village to complete a summer design sprint. Watch us channel Greer Garson as we highlight the many technical experts who have generously contributed their time and smarts!
German mathematician David Hilbert said "a perfect formulation of a problem is already half its solution." Internally, we call that perfect formulation the “hypothesis of record,” and here’s what it looks like in the early stages of a DtM product like the Otter newborn warmer.
On her summer break from med school, new team member and DtM Clinical Fellow Kristen Moulton digs into the literature on newborn hypothermia. Also, the design team conducts interviews with newborn and global health experts in Boston and overseas. What the heck is a sacrificial concept?
It takes a village to launch a summer design sprint! Sponsor Lenovo donated blazing fast CAD computers for product development. Come on a tour of the BUILD Space, where our team of Autodesk Student Experts has access to the most cutting-edge rapid prototyping tools, including a CNC mill the size of a garage.
Learn how to make a gigantic cardboard geodesic dome with your kids this summer, just like the one we built at our second annual Field Day in New York!
The most recent in a series of milestones for Firefly, the devices have now treated over 50,000 newborns in 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
We're excited to welcome two new members to the summer design team. Together, Karan, Kristine and Malory will develop an "alpha" or fully functional prototype of the Otter newborn warmer.
New funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Otter Warmer; national and international recognition for our work as social entrepreneurs, designers and engineers.
What is the link between what 1950s rocket scientists called “systems engineering” and what the cool kids call “design thinking”?
Learn how a hospital that hosted our earliest phototherapy research study received a Firefly donation from a Boy Scout troop in Italy!
Students designers and engineers from MIT, RISD and Harvard tackle the design of a pulse oximeter and a remote-monitoring tool for medical device donations.
This new paper in Neonatology finds an unmet need for cost-effective diagnosis and treatment of neonatal jaundice in low- and middle-income countries.
After 48 hours hacking with a mob of clinical experts, entomologists, designers and engineers at MGH, here’s what we learned about the zika virus, the aedes aegypti mosquito and the future of fighting vector-borne illness.
Breaking our lucky field tripod leads us to pull up Autodesk Inventor and bash together some great new camera tripod gadgets that you can download and 3D print!
Our Salem studio was party central this month, hosting groups of social impact design enthusiasts from Boston Design Week and NewCo Boston.
Big thanks to everyone who came out for our Open Studio event on Tuesday! The crowd was a fantastic cross-section of the DtM community, including global health experts, social impact investors, university professors, design students and professional volunteers. DtM Fellow Amily He and industrial designer Malory Johnson helped the crowd stamp out dozens of customs t-shirts. CEO Timothy Prestero explained our approach to product development, and gave updates on Firefly, Pelican, Otter, and Echo. We previewed a 2-min video on DtM’s collaboration with St Boniface Hospital in Haiti, created by Micro-Documentaries and sponsored by the Autodesk Foundation. Thank you to Caitlin Fortuna from Flow Design for spontaneously volunteering as event photographer! Share your own photos on Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #openstudio.
In the past, we’ve offered summaries of our product design process, for example in a TED talk (960K views) and our “Better by Design” paper in the Innovations Journal. Today, we’re happy to share a new edition of our Firefly Case Study. Written by Firefly product manager Elizabeth Johansen and funded by the Lemelson Foundation, this case study goes long on the product development process, including HOWTO interpret user feedback, manage partner relationships, work with manufacturers, negotiate design trade-offs. Read the study, become a better designer.
Established in 2009, World Pneumonia Day takes place every year on November 12th to raise awareness about pneumonia, the world’s leading killer of children under the age of five; promote interventions to protect against, prevent and treat pneumonia; and generate action to combat pneumonia. At last week’s Inaugural Pneumonia Innovations Summit, Tim Prestero was one of ten innovators to give a talk at the Summit, presenting DtM’s Pelican pulse oximeter to a panel of experts in philanthropy and industry.
A recently published study (Arnolda et al., 2015) of patient data in Myanmar indicates a much higher incidence of severe jaundice and acute bilirubin encephalopathy (ABE) among newborns admitted after birth. The study validates DtM partner Thrive Networks’ experience with newborn jaundice in Myanmar and many other countries. Delays in the diagnosis of jaundice and the start of treatment are common in developing countries, and as a consequence these settings experience a much higher incidence of severe jaundice than industrialized countries. Unlike overhead phototherapy designed to US and EU standards, DtM’s Firefly device provides high-intensity phototherapy from above and below the newborn allowing treatment of newborns who might otherwise require an exchange blood transfusion.
Carolyn Lynch, a tireless advocate for education and health care in New England and around the world, died of complications from a recent diagnosis of leukemia, on October 1st. She was 69. DtM wishes to recognize Carolyn's generosity and encouragement when DtM was just getting started. Carolyn and her husband Peter were among DtM's first major donors. Carolyn made it possible for us to tackle the challenge of improving newborn survival in developing countries. Her legacy at Design that Matters includes the hundreds of local university students and professional volunteers we have inspired to apply their skills to designing a better world for the most vulnerable, and our Firefly phototherapy device, which has now treated more than 20,000 newborns in eighteen developing countries.
With new units in Uganda, Nigeria, Somaliland, and Tanzania, DtM partners Thrive Health and Vietnamese manufacturing partner MTTS have now installed Firefly in eighteen developing countries. These devices have already treated over 20,000 newborns.
This August, Design that Matters returned to Haiti to visit our partners at St Boniface Hospital. We checked in on the two Firefly units that have been treating newborns at St Boniface for the last year. We user-tested the Otter Warmer concept with Director General Dr. Inobert Pierre and staff at the hospital’s new maternity ward and neonatal ICU. We also filmed a documentary. All this while our unflappable Haitian hosts assured us that Tropical Storms Danny and Erika were no big deal!
Amily He, Design Fellow, joins DtM from Google. Amily has five years of experience in product marketing and has worked for tech companies like Apple and other start-ups. Amily studied design in Denmark. Malory Johnson, DtM’s new Communication Design Intern, is a multidisciplinary designer who specializes in design research, product development and graphic communication. She has worked for clients like Airstream, AmericanHort, and Procter & Gamble. Please join us in welcoming Amily and Malory to DtM!
Firefly is now in ten countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean treating thousands of newborns. The phototherapy device has been out in the field long enough for us to start collecting some amazing impact statistics. We estimated that the Firefly device pays for itself in health care system savings in one year. Now that Firefly has received CE Mark certification, our partners East Meets West Foundation (an affiliate of Thrive Networks) and manufacturer MTTS are on track to scale to 1,000 units distributed, which will treat a total of 500,000 newborns for a total program cost of $6 per treatment.
Bon Voyage to DtM Director of Product Development Elizabeth Johansen after five awesome years, which included the launch of the world's most effective newborn phototherapy device. We're sad that she and her family have moved so far away, but we're thrilled they have a wonderful new home on the South Shore and she has a great new job as Director of Product Design and Implementation with Diagnostics For All. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @elizjohansen.