Updated on November 10, 2023


Created on August 21, 2016

Otter Newborn Warmer

Upcoming Update

The Otter Newborn Warmer is a warming bassinet for premature or low birth weight newborns.

Developed By
  1. Design That Matters (DtM)
Tested By
  • Olin and Babson College Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE) program
Content Partners
  1. World Health Organization (WHO)


Product Description

Otter is a durable, washable warming bassinet for premature and low birthweight (LBW) newborns. As a single-newborn warming mattress that supplies steady warming at body temperature, Otter can eliminate the risk of hypothermia and reduce incidences of hospital-acquired infection.

Currently in prototype phase, Design That Matters has developed four iterations of Otter and conducted user interviews and design reviews with neonatology and global health experts. Otter design development is still in progress as of early 2019 and planned to be completed by early 2020.

Target Countries

Afghanistan, Haiti, Sierra Leone, United States, Vietnam, Zimbabwe

Target SDGs

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Community, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

This product is a prototype as of September 2017 and consequently distributors have not yet been secured. DtM plans to work with global health partners around the world to distribute the warmer units.

Competitive Landscape

Direct competitors include Incublanket and Embrace Infant Warmer.

Manufacturing/Building Method

DtM’s manufacturing partner MTTS will manufacture the Otter. The prototype is being produced with CAD software and 3D printing at the Boston FabLab.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

The end user will be able to procure an Otter Newborn Warmer from DtM's various future global health partners, which are yet to be announced.

Distributions to Date Status

In conjunction with global health partners, DtM cited plans to distribute 1,000 warmer units and to treat over 500,000 newborns in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in 2019.

Accuracy of temperature control (deg C)

+/- 2 °C

Accuracy of temperature display (deg C)

+/- 2 °C

Alarm level


Alarm type


Use Duration (hours)

No duration limit, device is connected to AC power

Design Specifications

The Otter uses a standard AC power supply, which will be specified for 100-240 V and 43-67 Hz. The housing will be sealed from dust, and Otter will contain no moving parts. The bassinet will be made from high-strength polycarbonate. The Otter will maintain a conductive warming surface temperature of 36° C, and DtM is currently exploring the possibility of a user-adjustable surface temperature within +/- 2° C of 36° C. Otter does not require a newborn skin temperature probe for safe and effective operation.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Provided by manufacturer.

Replacement Components



Unknown. However the product can be disinfected and reused multiple times.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

The designers aim to establish Otter as the “reference design” for newborn warming in low-resource settings.

Vetted Performance Status

It has been determined that MTTS has the ability to manufacture the Otter.


An infant warming device can be life-saving but, if unreliable, could be life-threatening to neonates with little temperature control. Also, the Otter must be cleaned with alcohol wipes between each use.

Complementary Technical Systems

Firefly Phototherapy Device and other conventional overhead phototherapy devices

Academic Research and References


Compliance with regulations

Design that Matters states that the device will comply with existing international standards for conductive newborn warming devices to facilitate adoption.

Other Information

Development is expected to be completed by early 2020.

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