Design that Matters Saves Newborn Lives with Help from SOLIDWORKS

Design that Matters is a non-profit that uses the power of design to find the best opportunities for technology to have a massive impact serving the poor in developing countries. We use SOLIDWORKS in every part of our design process. One example of our projects can be seen in the below video, which is part of the crowdfunding campaign that launched our Pelican pulse oximeter project and raised more than twice it’s goal thanks to a matching sponsorship from Dassault Systèmes and SOLIDWORKS.

Most recently, we have been using SOLIDWORKS to design Firefly phototherapy and Pelican pulse oximeter to save newborn lives. Every year more than 6 million children die before they reach the age of five. Nearly half of these are newborns who die in their first month of life. Reducing childhood mortality is one of eight Millenium Development Goals identified by the United Nations in order to end poverty worldwide.

In 2011, Firefly phototherapy shared the main stage at SOLIDWORKS World. Now Firefly is manufactured by MTTS and distributed by East Meets West Foundation, an affiliate of Thrive Networks. To-date it has treated over 5,000 newborns with jaundice in ten developing countries. You can learn more about the Firefly story through this video on Born to Design.

The Pelican pulse oximeter is our newest product currently in development. We just returned from Haiti where we brought early Pelican prototypes to hospitals with stellar global health organizations Partners in Health and the St Boniface Haiti Foundation.

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The team of MIT and Rhode Island School of Design students who generated DtM’s first Pelican pulse oximeter concept using SOLIDWORKS as part of their Product Design and Development class. From Left to right: Victoria Young, Esther Mangan, Leah Chung, Shubhang Tandon, Aditya Ranjan, Keiichi Onishi, Kevin Weisner. Not pictured: Philip Daniel, Wei Wu.

To create world class medical devices that fit low resource contexts, we work with a broad network of volunteers from academia and industry. SOLIDWORKS is a critical tool for collaboration as it enables both novice students and experienced product design professionals to visualize, share, and detail concepts.

Caption: One of a variety of concepts that Design that Matters Industrial Designer Will Harris sketched quickly using SOLIDWORKS before our first visit to the field for the Pelican project.
One of a variety of concepts that Design that Matters Industrial Designer Will Harris sketched quickly using SOLIDWORKS before our first visit to the field for the Pelican project.

One of the surprising aspects about SOLIDWORKS is the ability to quickly visualize very rough models, but in a way that is more realistic than sketching with pencil and paper. The software has transformed our design process to bring about realizable ideas in the earliest stages of a project.

From quick SOLIDWORKS sketches, we used our Makerbot 3D printer to create these simple plastic pulse oximeter models to bring to nurses Haiti.
From quick SOLIDWORKS sketches, we used our Makerbot 3D printer to create these simple plastic pulse oximeter models to bring to nurses Haiti.

We rely on a network of global health experts to enable our products to fit the context of a developing world hospital. In particular, we need honest feedback from the community health workers, nurses, doctors, and parents who will use our devices. They say a picture is worth 1000 words, and a prototype is worth 1000 pictures. SOLIDWORKS 2015 integrates seamlessly with the Makerbot 3D printer, allowing us to take the quick sketches we make in SOLIDWORKS and print them in three dimensions so we can better communicate across cultures and languages.

On Thursday, November 20, SOLIDWORKS has invited Design that Matters to present a webinar on how we’re using its software which will provide tips on how you can replicate this approach in your work, including best practices for meeting government compliance across numerous countries, collaborating on product design with both engineers and design novices and creating affordable products that can be quickly assembled anywhere. We look forward to giving you the inside scoop about how we are using SOLIDWORKS to design the Pelican pulse oximeter and other world class medical devices for developing countries.

Two webinar sessions are available. Please click the below links to register. See you on November 20!

11am EST: http://www.solidworks.com/webinar_design_that_matters_11am

2pm EST: http://www.solidworks.com/webinar_design_that_matters_2pm

Elizabeth Johansen

Elizabeth Johansen

Director of Product Development at Design that Matters
Elizabeth leads DtM's product design process. Using her engineering experience and design thinking background, she leads designers, professional volunteers, students, and contractors to create world-class designs with positive impact for low resource communities in the developing world. Prior to DtM, Elizabeth worked at IDEO for 8 years. Her experience spans strategy to design for manufacture for clients including Eli Lilly, BriteSmile, Reynolds, Target, Becton Dickinson, and 3Com. Elizabeth also speaks and facilitates workshops about design for social impact to audiences ranging from budding social enterprises to the largest bank in the world. She holds a B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.
Elizabeth Johansen
Elizabeth Johansen
Elizabeth Johansen