Danwei Ye, Yu Liu, Yakun Zhang / Rochester Institute of Technology
Fountain of Life
Fountain of Life
Easier for sanitation; easier to operate by the midwife; soft, elegant and comfortable appearance.
A good case showing life care from designer. Equipment is not always cold and heavy sometimes it’s so close to life and need our designers to make it better.
To define the problems of old products and solve them, the design and thinking process led them to good results.
Fountain of Life
Fountain of Life is a water birthing assistant medical device. It is a product based on traditional water birthing container like tub and modified by advanced material and medical technology.
It provides adequate clean and warm water while the gravida lies down and it keeps the water running. After using it, it can clean by itself via surrounding ultraviolet lights.
While we designed the device, we decided to make its parts “All in one”, which means the whole body will be cut from one piece, features such as water outlet, water inlet are shown on the inner wall.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
When a couple recalls the process of delivering a baby, their foremost memory shouldn’t be only about pain, instead, the hospital childbirth equipment should bring fond memories to the couple.
1. Nowadays, lots of people still choose traditional laboring methods in hospitals nearby. The whole process causes much pain to the gravida. It always takes so long that the gravida may feel exhausted. What’s worse, to the gravida, it’s very easy to be wounded during traditional laboring method and may cause infection.
2. For the people who select traditional water birthing, it’s not a smart way to do the process at home with help or without help even though it’s cheaper, because of insanitation condition with the high possibility of emergency.
3. The biggest challenge to us is how to design a medical device which is not only functional achievable, but has an appropriate natural shape that fits user’s shape and provide more comfort as well.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
1. For our Fountain of Life design, the most important issue we care about is bringing a better experience during the delivery process to the pregnant women.
I think the reason is that giving birth to a child is one of humanity’s greatest moments, is the natural way human continue our race.
It should be very safe to both gravida and new baby
It should be easy to operate by the midwife
It should have a soft and elegant appearance
Through research, the disadvantages of traditional water birth method are without monitoring the quality of water and the risk of infection. On the other hand, by the relaxing effect of the water, gravidas can keep calm while laboring. It is a natural laboring method and already has been used for ages with many advantages such as reducing pain, increasing relaxation, buoyancy and satisfaction.
Fountain of Life has a temperature control system, water cycle system and disinfection system which solves the problems caused by traditional methods, and makes the whole process safe and clean.
Another matter is that people don’t need to worry about baby starting to breathe under water because of the natural way called “Dive Reflex” by which babies protect themselves from underwater breathing.
The material is fiber glass enforced PMMA. At the lower part, UV light-emitting device located one on the left and one on right sides. The control part is on the rear side, with two adjusting knobs, two bottoms and a LED screen, it shows the device condition immediately.
For the consideration of ergonomics, all the dimensions are based on existing product, the back declining angle and the position of the foot panel are tested by us. All the technologies we mentioned are wildly used in various fields. What we need to do is rearrange these parts into our device and make it practical.
Talking about business issue, we mainly focus on middle and high-end
market, which means, we will provide this kind of products to the hospital which has a specialized section with full-equipped water birth system. Besides, we can offer it to community clinics so that they can provide high-quality water birth service.
After doing research, we found that more people are choosing water birthing to have a baby because it is natural and reduces the pain. Thus, the market demand for a water birthing device is large and there are not a lot of relatable products that achieves the requirement. The devices in hospitals don’t usually have a good water cycling system to keep the water clean and warm. Meanwhile, portable devices in for use at home has only the simplest functions and is less comfortable compared to the devices used at hospitals. What’s more, both of them can’t clean itself and doesn’t have a real-time control panel.
We believe that through designing the new water birthing equipment, it will benefit the midwife by direct operation and it will attract more and more gravidas to come to the hospital to go through this important step in her life. More than this, we think it’s also a valuable experience for the baby since it is touching a basic element in nature.
The way of water birth is now spreading all over the world, from the West to the East. The potential of a deluxe water birthing device is huge and we hope our design can set a positive example of human-centered design in our daily life.