International Business Ventures Enterprise

Michigan Technological University, 2011 - $16,050

In developing countries worldwide, infant mortality rates remain extremely high: out of the 3.7 million neonatal deaths and 3.3 million stillbirths in the world each year, 98% occur in developing countries. Among these numbers are newborns that are unresponsive upon delivery, but which still have a faint heartbeat. Unfortunately these infants are often declared stillborn and left to die, as the absence of reliable medical devices to check for heartbeat and the lack of training in using them prevent attempts at resuscitation.

The International Business Ventures Enterprise team is developing the Infant Heart Annunciator (IHA) to address this problem. The IHA can quickly detect the heartbeat of an unresponsive infant by using electronic impulses; the device is placed on an infant’s chest, and two electrodes detect the infant's electrocardiogram (ECG) within three seconds. If the infant’s heart is beating, the device will flash a light and beep for each heartbeat, indicating that resuscitation is required. Healthcare workers, midwives and other medical professionals are trained to resuscitate, so if the infant is identified as being alive, the chances of them surviving increase dramatically.