OBM Project BOB presentation

What it is BOB

BOB is a low-cost, open source, 3D printable neonatal incubator designed online with the help of international volunteers.

The Inspiration

According to the WHO, despite the past 20 years mortality in the first months of life has decreased, there are still places like countries in the developing world, where the neonatal mortality rate is still too high to international set standards. Among the various causes it has been estimated that approximately 75% of neonatal deaths occurs in the first week of life, often due to the lack of a support given by biomedical equipment, too expensive or difficult to manage and maintain.
Thus was born the idea of ​​creating an incubator that meets fully the Open BioMedical Initiative philosophy: economic, 3D printable and open source.

How It Works

The incubator BOB realized by the Open BioMedical Initiative team allows you to adjust and maintain temperature and humidity constant inside.

The electronics comprise:

  • Temperature sensors

  • Humidity sensors

  • Fans with PWM control

  • Air heater

  • Display

  • push button

  • Audible alarms

  • Form wifi and BLE

Limit energy consumption is an important aspect especially considering that BOB is equipped with a battery system that can be used when the electric current fails: it is therefore obvious that by limiting the consumption, it increases the autonomy to equal capacity.

All the electronic components have been chosen on the basis of long-term reliability criteria, price and availability in order to be able to keep down the costs of implementation.

Stages of Development

The development phase has been divided into 4 phases:

Phase 1 involved a feasibility study, taking in account the state of the devices already on the market. The goal is to provide an incubator that is easily transportable, with high energy efficiency, inexpensive, easy to assemble and that requires little maintenance.

Phase 2 gave the basis for the construction of the first version of the prototype, consisting of basic electronics and a structure that allows you to make the first test print, structural strength and thermal-hygrometric.

During the Phase 3 the incubator has taken shape, the electronics has increases their performance and the geometry of the structure of the second version of the prototype has been defined.

Phase 4 is currently underway, we are developing a wireless communication system to remotely control the operation of most incubators that are in the same place via app / web app

3D printing allows to realize complex structures such as a honeycomb pattern inside of the walls to limit the propagation of heat from the inside of the incubator: this will reduce energy consumption and thus increase the autonomy of the system.

The realization of the parts of the structure with the 3D printer allows on one hand to contain the manufacturing costs, but also to directly produce on site the parts which are eventually damaged.
Following this approach, it deviates significantly from the classical conception of the production of medical equipment by establishing a new expense records: 1000 € will be the actual cost for the BOB’s construction.

Future Plans

Improve the 3d printed structure (reduce 3d printed parts)
Improve the heating system
improve the allarm system (master-slave redundancy allarm system)
make the documentations


  • 2° prize national winner James Dyson Awards 2015
  • Top 10 finalist R.O.M.E Prize Maker Faire Europe Edition Rome 2016
  • Element14 Challenge 2017 - Change the World


This project is not a medical device, it is intended as a development kit.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
To view a copy of this license, visit:

OBM-BOB GitHub repository: LINK