Students from the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University are working together on a start-up that is creating a non-electric thermal warming blanket for premature babies in developing countries called Warmilu.
The baby blanket under development at Warmilu
, formerly MWrap, can help such babies retain or increase their body heat in order to improve their survival rate. The company quotes estimates that approximately 140 low-birth-weight infants from around the world die every hour from hypothermia-related causes. The blanket helps bridge the gap between the hospital and home-care in places where people live with few resources.
U-M students came up with the ideas and soon went to EMU's Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising program
where EMU Prof Cathryn Amidei paired the U-M students with EMU students to create the prototype of the blanket.
"We took their ideas and made them what they wanted into an actual product," says Ana Maria Barge, an EMU student and prototype designer for Warmilu.
The half a dozen people working on Warmilu recently received a $5,750 from the Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge to develop the idea. The Ann Arbor-based TechArb
accelerator, which helps students with entrepreneurial ventures, provided office space, mentors and a $10,000 grant.
Source: Ana Maria Barge, prototype designer for Warmilu and Cathryn Amidei, professor of apparel, textiles and merchandising at Eastern Michigan University
Writer: Jon Zemke