Sawston, United Kingdom
Craig McGarrell has developed a new portable solar scale, manufactured by Roots Medtech to provide low-cost, safe, liable, and accurate neonatal weighing tools and help to the healthier development and better socio-economic life outcomes.
Roots Solar Scales’s design has been awarded a 2021 Good Design Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
In 2019, 2.5 million children globally died during their first year of life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in low-resource areas such as Ghana, a large proportion of births occur outside of a clinical setting which poses a much higher risk to a newborn.
A risk compounded by inadequate or absent neonatal weighing and monitoring equipment.
Weighing scales that are currently available in locations like Ghana are often analog, providing low accuracy and reliability, and are too cumbersome to transport to remote locations.
This could explain why, in Ghana, only 60% of infants are weighed at birth.
The Roots Solar Scales concept is designed
The Roots Solar Scales have been designed with extensive input from nurses across Ghana, including outreach clinics, neonatal wards, and labor wards.
In contrast to current heavy and cumbersome scales, the unique backpack-like design and lightweight materials make it ideal for journeys to remote locations.
A reliable and sustainable power source is critical.
Being powered by solar energy relieves the need to worry about charging the device,
however, as a backup, the device contains a USB charging port.
This design uses a combination of load cells and a simple LCD display to provide an inexpensive yet highly accurate and easy-to-read result.
A zip pouch on the inside of the scales provides a transparent space to fit common medical equipment and records.
By using calming pastel tones and gentle curves, these weighing scales provide babies with a comfortable and calm environment to be weighed and parents with a feeling of reassurance when watching their baby being weighed.
Current solutions are often made of metal, rusting over time and being uncomfortably cold or hot against the infant’s skin.
Simple surfaces, such as the main bowl, provide an easy-to-clean surface between consultations.
A combination of simple finishes and technology allows the device to be inexpensive yet accurate and fit-for-purpose.
The device uses a minimal number of parts and simple construction that, should the device encounter damage, is easy to replace parts.
This results in a significantly less costly product than current scales.
Project: ROOTS Solar Scales
Designers: Craig McGarrell, Craig McGarrell Limited
Manufacturer: ROOTS Medtech C.I.C