Partnership with Olin College

This Fall, DtM will continue the momentum on our Otter Newborn Warmer project through a new partnership with students and faculty from Olin, Babson, and Wellesley Colleges on the widespread problem of premature infant death in developing countries.

Olin College and Babson College launched the Global Health track together late last year within their Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE) program. ADE is a collaborative course, funded in part by the Autodesk Foundation, in which students co-create new products and social ventures with communities around the world to address challenges endemic to poverty.

The ADE team of engineers and business students will focus on pushing Otter Warmer alpha prototype towards volume manufacture and scale.  Challenges ahead of Otter include iterating on the user interface and temperature control system, ensuring that both are “hard to use wrong” and in compliance with international medical and regulatory standards.  We will also examine the “bill of materials,” or the components that make Otter, to identify the best vendors and the most cost-effective manufacturing processes.  The Olin and Babson team will visit Vietnam in January to interview both potential users in rural hospitals and the team at DtM’s manufacturing partner MTTS.

The course is lead by long-time DtM friend and Olin Professor of Design and Mechanical Engineering Benjamin Linder.  We’re thrilled that DtM superstar alumni and former Firefly product manager Elizabeth Johansen will be the team’s lead mentor, which is like getting Einstein to coach you on your math homework.  You can read some of Elizabeth’s insights on international development and social impact design on the DtM blog.

For six years, ADE has been inspiring and supporting students learning and engaging in design for impact by increasing their awareness of inequality and the need for social justice through design. DtM is thrilled to partner with the Olin team as part of the new global health track!