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NASA astronaut tech helps premature babies

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016

Technology originally made for astronauts in space is being used to keep premature babies comfortable in remote areas of third world countries.

The hi-tech material, which was spun out of a MBA student project, absorbs and releases heat to keep babies at a comfortable skin temperature and reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome with overheating.

Through a Kickstarter campaign, Embrace Innovations raised $US130,000 for their prototype of infant swaddles, sleeping bags and blankets to be made from temperature-regulating fabrics by US company Outlast.

Since the development of the product line, the Embrace Infant Warmer has been used to treat hundreds of thousands of premature and low-birth-weight infants throughout 14 developing countries.

The many layers of insulation protect the wearer from extreme temperatures on its outside surface but also hold in body heat, a NASA statement says.

Kai Chan, vice president at the San Francisco-based company, said the company's goal is to help one million infants.

"We're using this NASA technology not just to keep babies comfortable but also to support our efforts to save premature babies around the world," he said in a NASA statement.

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