Industrial Designer Develops Wireless 'Smart Jacket" For Premature Babies

An industrial design student received her PhD cum laude last month for her design of a Smart Jacket for premature babies. Her creation will, no doubt, launch a successful career for a new graduate, but change the lives of millions of premature infants and their families...


Smart Jacket for premature babies; design by Sibrecht Bouwstra: image via Jacket for premature babies; design by Sibrecht Bouwstra: image via


Premature births have actually increased in the last several years due primarily to women having children at a later age, to in vitro fertilization, and to more twins and other multiple births occurring. One of eight births in the U.S. are premature, according to the Center for Disease Control, born before 37 weeks in their mother's wombs. Babies born prematurely must be monitored closely, literally wired-up to monitors, and kept in incubators to keep them alive and to prevent a host of health issues that may occur.  

One of the major obstacles to normal development for 'preemies' is the absence of their mothers during a significant period of their lives, a time when they have just left a very nurturing, warm place in their mothers' wombs.  After birth, they are placed in a starkly different environment in an incubator in an intensive care unit with wires and adhesives attached to their skin.  The stress caused by the absence of physical and emotional contact with their families is believed to be at least partially responsible for developmental problems later in their childhoods, many that last to adulthood.

Sibrechtn Bouwstra and her colleagues at Eindhoven University and the Maxima Medical Center in Eindhoven, The Netherlands have designed, with the assistance of a fabric manufacturer, a wireless 'baby jacket' that includes the important sensors necessary to monitor the baby's vital functions, but is comfortable to wear.  Because the jacket is wireless, the parents have more freedom to hold and to move around with the baby, providing the parental bonding, warmth, and positive stimuli that can help support both intellectual and emotional needs of an infant.

In addition to this vital contribution to the entire family of a premature baby, the Smart Jacket, which can be worn inside and outside of the incubator, obviates the need to adhere wires to the infant's skin, which leads to infections quite often due to having to replace the wires repeatedly. 


sources:  Tue.NL via MedicalExpress, Cursor, Smart Jacket Design For Neonatal Monitoring With Wearable Sensors, CDC


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Nov 14, 2013
by Anonymous

This is pretty amazing. I

This is pretty amazing. I hope it helps future preemies! My daughter Joy was born at 23 weeks last year. Due to modern medicine and prayers she is doing great today. I hemorrhaged at 17 weeks for the first of 4 times because of 100% placenta previa, which turned into placenta accreta (which I believe was caused by 3 prior c-sections). After she came home from 121 days in the NICU, I wrote a memoir called "From Hope To Joy" about my life-threatening
 pregnancy and my daughter's 4 months in the NICU (with my 3 young sons at 
home), which is now available on both the Amazon and Barns&Noble websites. It was quite a roller 
coaster that I am certain some of you have been on or are currently riding on. My mission is to provide hope to women struggling with
 high-risk pregnancies, encourage expectant mothers to educate themselves before 
electing cesarean deliveries, provide families of premature babies a realistic 
look at what lies ahead in their NICU journey, and show that miracles can 
happen, and hope can turn into joy.
 Please see my website and

Thank you.

Nov 20, 2013
by Anonymous

What a great idea! I'm a

What a great idea! I'm a NICU nurse and this would be so great for the babies and lessen their pain from moving the leads around as often as we do.