Unique Apnea Monitor Prompts Infants to Resume Breathing

The Babalung monitor prompts premature infants with apnea to start breathing again and gives a visual alarm if they don’t. Click image for video.

Five senior bioengineering students at Rice University have created a sensor they hope will help save premature infants in developing countries.

The students created the Babalung Apnea Monitor, a low-cost, battery-operated neonatal monitor for infants, as part of a yearlong project.

Another student team is now developing a smartphone app that will be able to receive the device data.

This team has worked tirelessly to design a useful technology for very-low-resource settings. They sought feedback from physicians who work in those settings and incorporated this advice into their prototype. The unique feature of the device is the system that alerts a baby as an intervention to apnea—all without requiring a nurse to intervene.”

— Maria Oden, director, Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, Rice University

When a sensor connected to the bay’s chest determines the child has stopped breathing for 20 seconds, a vibrating motor attempts to restart the baby’s breathing. Five seconds later, if the baby has not resumed breathing, a visual alarm (a bicycle light hung above the baby’s crib) begins to flash.

Learn more at http://news.rice.edu/2012/04/12/babalung-gets-babies-breathing-again/

Watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3xBaa3VN9c

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

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