baby CPAP breathing machine-Rice UniversityBabies are surviving in the poorest parts of Africa thanks to the ingenuity of students in a Rice University design class.

Faced with the problem of modern medical care being so expensive, the Houston seniors used basic materials like an aquarium pump in their quest to create technology that would keep premature babies in distress alive.

When lungs are underdeveloped, the infant’s every breath is like blowing up a new balloon — a difficult task to first inflate.

It doesn’t take much air pressure to fill the lungs of a tiny baby, and with the students’ new device, called the bubble CPAP machine, the success was startling.

One of the designers who graduated from Rice has been training doctors in Malawi how to use the machine with a grant from USAID. 

The portable device can be built for $160 and provides the same level of therapeutic pressure as units commonly used in the developed world that cost as much as $6,000. What’s more, the maintenance costs are less than a dollar every two years or so.

(WATCH the video below or READ the story w/ photos at CNN)

Thanks to Harley Hahn for submitting the story!

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