Heart beat

Freeplay Energy's fetal heart rate monitor provides a safe and accessible solution for healthcare workers in developing countries during childbirth.

Part of the Project

Did you know that every year 10.6 million children die with 99% of the cases related to respiratory diseases? The Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor (FHRM) aims to address this issue and provide low-income communities with a device to keep children healthy.

The FHRM, designed by Philip Goodwin, Stefan Zwahlen and John Hutchinson for Freeplay Energy, is a fit-for-purpose Doppler ultrasound device that measures the fetal heart rate. The device empowers the developing world’s healthcare workers to make life-saving decisions during childbirth.

Every year 1 million babies die during childbirth and further complications kill half a million mothers. Over 99% of these deaths occur in the developing world and are preventable with timely detection of complications. The FHRM is an answer to the problem of measuring the fetal heart rate in under resourced healthcare environments.  

The FHRM is durable and simple to use but most importantly it is human-powered and not dependant on an external power source, says Goodwin.

With the FHRM, human energy is efficiently converted into electricity and stored in rechargeable batteries. Every minute of winding provides fifteen minutes of use. As the device runs on intelligent electronics, the FHRM is further able to be recharged using solar energy and grid electricity if available.

The FHRM was featured in Design Indaba Expo’s groundbreaking exhibition Africa is Now at this year’s event. It was showcased under the theme “Africa is Resourceful”, which looked at various African designers who are coming up with ingenious contextual solutions drawn from the wisdom of local expertise to address social, economic and political problems on the continent.

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