ADE team in Vietnam


Earlier this month, students from Olin Professor Benjamin Linder's Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE) course returned to Vietnam with the Otter Newborn Warmer for more user interviews and a detailed manufacturing review with DtM partner MTTS.  The field research team was lead by Firefly's superstar product manager Elizabeth Johansen, now a Visiting Designer at Olin College, and Anna Konstantinova, a friend of the Olin ADE program and now a master's degree candidate in International Development Policy at Georgetown University.

The team had an impressively diverse background, and included students from Olin and Babson College:

  • Kelly Brennan, Olin Class of 2017, Bioengineering
  • Paige Cote, Olin Class of 2016, Computing
  • Pinar Demetci, Olin Class of 2017, Bioengineering
  • Liani Lye, Olin Class of 2017, Robotics
  • Joel Mampilly, Babson Class of 2018, Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Design
  • Michael Sheets, Olin Class of 2017, Bioengineering
  • Celine Ta, Olin Class of 2017, Engineering: Product Design & Development

The team conducted follow-up user tests of some of the key features we explored during DtM's December Vietnam field study.  The students also made important progress on the Otter bill of materials (BOM) and a draft analysis of "cost of goods sold" (COGS), uncovering potential opportunities to reduce the total product cost by more than thirty percent!

The team kept a journal in the field.  Follow the links below each summary to see the details on how the sausage gets made in international medical device development!


"We spent the morning at MTTS, Design that Matters' partner for Firefly newborn phototherapy. Greg (MTTS's CEO) gave us a great tour of their facility. We reviewed the Bill of Materials for Otter with Greg and MTTS Production Manager, Steffen Reschwanmm, then went to an injection molding manufacturing plant, who may do some outsourcing work for MTTS in the future."


"At MTTS, we launched into a design review of the Otter Warmer concept with Greg, Steffen and Chloe Nguyen, an MTTS Fellow.  Part of the team went to the National Obstetrics Hospital near the city center for a design review with the NICU assistant director."


"Half the group headed out for our final user interviews at the newly-built Hai Duong Hospital, two hours east of Hanoi to learn more about how their current warmers were used and how Otter might fit in. We were also able to show them our current Otter alpha prototype and gather their insights on interface design, controls placement, and bassinet form factors. The other half of the team worked on various technical aspects during the morning, including a “water bag” test of one of our prototypes to roughly simulate how it would warm a baby and discussing MTTS quality control & standards."

The team's travel expenses were generously funded with grants from the Autodesk Foundation, Olin College and Babson College.