New partnership with Chao Foundation and TFish Fund


Design that Matters is excited to announce a new partnership with Chao Foundation and Transparent Fish Fund. Chao Foundation and Transparent Fish Fund have committed a new grant of $50,125 to help DtM develop an innovative newborn conductive warmer. Designed for use in rural areas, the Otter warmer will reduce unnecessary newborn mortality due to complications from prematurity, hypothermia, and low birth weight in low resource settings. The grant will support the development, testing, and marketability of a refined prototype in Vietnam.

Need for Newborn Warming

In 2015, 2.7M infants in developing countries died within a month of birth due to complications of prematurity, low birth weight, and infection. Preterm birth is the number one cause of newborn death. We could prevent more than three-quarters of these deaths by providing at-risk newborns with simple interventions, such as a warm and clean environment in which to grow stronger (Source: World Health Organization). Conventional newborn incubators are complex, expensive to own and operate, and difficult to keep clean. The need for newborn warming is among the greatest unmet demands in global health.

Otter Warming Bassinet

A team of designers, engineers, physicians, and medical device manufacturers is developing the Otter, a durable warming bassinet for premature and low birth weight newborns. Otter is a newborn conductive warmer designed specifically to allow rural hospitals with limited resources and inexperienced staff to successfully treat premature newborns who are especially vulnerable to hypothermia.

Initial market research shows that Otter is a first-in-market device with these distinctions and benefits:

  • Supplies steady warming at body temperature: reduces risk of hypothermia

  • Washable: reduces the incidence of hospital-acquired infection

  • Small and portable: can accompany newborns from the delivery room to the NICU

  • Compatible with phototherapy: can be used in conjunction with jaundice treatment

  • Simple user interface: minimal training is needed to use Otter correctly

  • Durable: easy to maintain and repair, with no single-use components

The grant will help advance the Otter to stage 2 of the product development process, which is manufacturability. The Otter Warming Bassinet is projected to benefit 500,000 hypothermic and low birth weight newborns in Southeast Asia by 2020.

About Chao Foundation

Chao Foundation was founded in California’s Silicon Valley in 2005 by Ping and Amy Chao. The foundation was established to fund nonprofit and public welfare initiatives that (1) improve children’s health in developing countries; and (2) nurture a spirit of philanthropy among the younger generation in China and of the greater Chinese Diaspora. While the Chao Foundation is based in the Bay Area and has local projects, many of its programs focus on developing countries in East Asia.

About Transparent Fish Fund

Transparent Fish Fund is a 501(c)(3) US nonprofit organization founded in 2011 in Palo Alto, California, established exclusively for charitable purposes to connect credible East Asian NGOs with individuals from the West. The greater mission behind this work is to foster a sustainable long-term NGO culture in East Asia, and in doing so, spread a global spirit of philanthropy.

About Design that Matters

Design that Matters is a nonprofit that solves problems for and with the poor in developing countries. Their projects include Firefly Phototherapy, Otter Newborn Warmer, Echo Remote Monitoring, and Pelican Pulse Oximeter. Design that Matters is setting the standard for best practice in design and pushing the limits of technology in rapid prototyping and low-volume manufacturing. Their goal is to deliver a better quality of service and a better quality of life to communities currently missed by commercial markets.

For more information, please visit the Chao Foundation and Transparent Fish Fund websites at and

Nov 3, 2016