Team Breath Alert with the Babalung (from left: From left: Andrea Ulrich, Bridget Ugoh, Rachel Gilbert, Jordan Schermerhorn and Rachel Alexander)
The Babalung Apnea Monitor is a student-designed device that could save the lives of infants in developing nations
The Babalung Apnea Monitor costs about $25 to build, but the students hope to lower that price
Although it’s normal for infants to have some disruptions in their breathing while sleeping, prolonged periods of sleep apnea can cause their blood oxygen levels to fall dangerously low, sometimes even resulting in death – this is a particular risk for babies born prematurely. Usually, when an infant does stop breathing while asleep, all that’s required to get them started again is a gentle nudge or some other kind of disturbance. Unfortunately, however, neonatal wards in developing nations are often understaffed, so nurses might not notice a non-breathing infant until it’s too late. That’s why a group of five bioengineering students from Houston’s Rice University invented the Babalung Apnea Monitor.
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