3D printing instruments to measure oxygen levels in newborns

Design that Matters, a Massachusetts non-profit focused on developing countries, recently developed prototypes of an instrument to measure oxygen levels and diagnose pneumonia in infants using an Atmel powered MakerBot Replicator 2.

Brigham Slide Show

Created by a team of MIT and Rhode Island School of Design students, the Pelican pocket pulse oximeter is an affordable and durable tool that can be used to help detect pneumonia in newborn babies in developing countries such as Haiti and Rwanda.


In true Maker fashion, the MIT and RISD students took to Indiegogo earlier this spring to raise funds around the pocket pulse oximeter. Unsurprisingly, the team garnered $22,000 — well over its original goal of $10,000. In the months that followed, Design that Matters conducted demonstrations at hospitals, including the Brigham and Women’s Intensive Care Unit in Boston, and a series of interviews with hospital physicians and staff to gain valuable insights into how to improve the Pelican prototypes, ranging from basic ergonomics to display preferences.


“Prototypes are even more vital when we perform research in locations with a different culture and language. They take abstract ideas about what could be, and quickly make them tangible to enable us to move beyond words and see how people actually would or wouldn’t use them,” Design that Matters writes.


Last September, Design that Matters also brought the newborn pulse oximeter prototypes to hospitals in Haiti, in collaboration with Partners in Health and the Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation, enabling the team to gain even greater insights into how the Pelican is currently and could be used to improve healthcare infants in the facilities.

Now this is what we call making a difference! To learn more about Design that Matters, the Pelican and all surrounding efforts, head on over to the organization’s official page.

1 thought on “3D printing instruments to measure oxygen levels in newborns

  1. Pingback: Rewind: A look back at the top 3D printing stories of 2014 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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