Otter Newborn Warmer

In Progress



Each year over 4M infants in developing countries die within a month of birth due to complications of prematurity, low birth weight and infection. We could prevent more than 1.3M of these deaths by providing at-risk newborns with a warm and clean environment in which to grow stronger. Conventional newborn incubators are complex, expensive to own and operate and difficult to keep clean.


Otter is a durable, washable warming bassinet for premature and low birthweight (LBW) newborns. A single-newborn warming mattress that supplies steady warming at body temperature, Otter will eliminate the risk of hypothermia and reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infection. Otter is also small and portable. It can accompany newborns on the trip from the delivery room to the neonatal ICU. Otter will work as a stand-alone device and as a complement to both DtM’s Firefly and to conventional overhead phototherapy devices. To facilitate adoption, the device will comply with existing international standards for conductive newborn warming devices.


We have completed market analysis, including surveys of existing warming devices for newborns. We will pursue manufacture through technology licensing agreements with multinational medical device companies targeting LMIC markets who have already expressed interest in this project. 

Otter is designed to be:

  • Hard to use wrong - simple “plug and play” user interface automatically sets a safe and effective surface temperature, with simple indicators for “ready” vs “not ready” and “functioning” vs “not working”.  Bassinet only fits a single term newborn, in order to reduce the incidence of cross-infection from newborns sharing beds.
  • Simple to clean - a modern incubator can take up to 45 minutes to clean properly given all of the internal seams and crevices; Otter has a smooth, seamless interior that can be wiped clean with alcohol in just minutes.
  • Complementary with Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) - Otter maintains the temperature of newborns who cannot be thermoregulated using kangaroo mother care (KMC) because they are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for observation or treatment, for example receiving phototherapy from Firefly
  • Compatible with Firefly and Overhead Phototherapy - All newborns receiving phototherapy are vulnerable to hypothermia, so Otter is designed to work with both the Firefly Phototherapy device and with conventional overhead phototherapy devices like the GE Lullaby and D-Rev’s Brilliance.

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We extend a big thank you to our donors, partners, and collaborators

Internal Summer Design Team
Kristine Chen
Malory Johnson
Kristen Moulton
Karan Mudgal


MIT-RISD Product Design and Development Team
Candice Chow-Gamboa
Daniela Spinardi Silveira
Diego Pinhao
Hala Khoursheed
Megan Correa
Peter Chamberlain
Rachael Aptowitz
Saksham Saxena
Shirlene Liew

MIT 2.009 Team Sunflower

Abdullah Akbar
Andrew Acker
Valerie Andersen
Eduardo Bacardi
Saeed Fakeiha
Jacob Haip
Catherine Fox
David Gilchrist Gholson Glass
Jade Hardacker
Yasmin Inman
Matt Kim
Teresa Lin
Cliodhna McCarthy
Rachel McDermott
Sarah McMillian Lorcan Murphy
Ben Niewood
Jake Slonaker
Joanna So
Isaac Sosa
K.K. Wopat
Brandon Wright
Kristin Zimmerman


Autodesk BUILD Space
Joshua Aigen
Adam Allard
Joe Aronis
Tim Brinkerhoff
Bevin Lin
Rick Rundell
Taylor Tobin


MIT 2.009 Team Sunflower
Dr. Steven Ringer
Prof. David Wallace
Prof. Sang-Gook Kim
Prof. Warren Seering
Prof. Elisabeth Schmidt
Prof. Danny Braunstein
Julien Aknin, Cooper Perkins
Michael Zervas, Lincoln Laboratory
Tom Burrow
Jane Kokernak
Robin Miller
David Perry
Bill Cormier
James Dudley
Steve Haberek
Tasker Smith


MIT-RISD Product Design and Development Team
Prof. Steve Eppinger
Prof. Matt Kressy
Prof. Maria Yang
Phillip Gara
Jennifer Jin


Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
Kelly Bucher, RN
Dr. Silvia Testa
Dr. Steven Ringer


St Boniface Hospital, Haiti
Dr. Inobert Pierre
Dr. Miliane Clermont
Conor Shapiro
Robbie Patterson
Sayari Patel


Mirebalais University Hospital (HUM), Haiti
Dr. Jack Long
Dr. Delight Wing
Marc Julmisse, RN


Boucan-Carre Hospital, Haiti
Dr. Jean Louis Judson


L'Hopital Sainte-Therese de Hinche
Dr. Anna Stanzelova
Monica Terez, RN
Lelia Dorcin, RN



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