6 years ago, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Dayo Olakulehin sat beside the bed of a gravely ill 5 yr old patient, manually squeezing a CPR bag to keep oxygen pumping into the boys lungs.
By 2am, already exhausted from an exceptionally long shift at the hospital, Dr Olakulehin nodded off momentarily as he was compressing the CPR bag. Thankfully, at that very moment, the boy’s father came into the room to continue the manual compressions. If the child had continued without ventilation for longer than four minutes, it could have resulted in irreversible brain damage.
This experience got Dr Olakulehin thinking about how he could solve this problem for hospitals and other medical facilities unable to afford expensive powered ventilators. His proposed solution was nicknamed the D-Box (working title). Soon after, Dr Olakulehin began his journey to create an ultra low cost, battery powered, automated CPR compression device primarily for use in resource-limited nations and in disaster relief situations.
THE POWER TO SAVE LIVES
Creating an automated CPR bag compression device cannot replace conventional ventilators (ventilators have the ability to measure and control the amount of air being pumped). However it was Dr Olakulehin’s belief that creating a device that could automate basic breathing assistance could save many thousands of lives.
After meeting with Ray Minato, founder of Inertia, the D-Box moved from an idea to a working prototype within 3 months. For Ray, the decision to partner with Dr. Olakulehin was an easy one given the doctor’s first hand account and passion to create a solution to a dire need. Developing the D-Box spoke to one of Ray’s strongly held core beliefs – that great product ideas and great product design have the power to truly improve people’s lives. Ray and his team jumped at the opportunity to create a working prototype.
ULTRA LOW COST EFFICIENT DESIGN
Beyond the expected challenges that come with developing a first generation prototype, there was the very real constraint of cost. For the D-Box to be a viable in resource limited markets, Inertia had to find a way to create the D-Box with an end purchase price in the low-mid hundreds. Considering that a comparable product was about to come on the market for $3000 and traditional ventilators cost upwards of $30,000, this was no easy task.
Having developed numerous products for the North American market, Ray was acutely aware of founders tendencies to want to add as many features as possible. For the D-Box, the goal was the exact opposite. How could they create a battery powered, rechargeable, automated CPR bag compressor appliance that was super simple to operate, extremely durable at ultra low cost?
The key to the D-Box's viability lies in its simplicity. Mechanisms, motors, housings, controls have been designed to be high volume, high reliability, high durability, and low cost. This makes the D-Box affordable to facilities in resource limited regions the world over.
Culled from Inertia's Case Study