The mOm Essential Incubator is a portable, easy to use neonatal incubator developed by mOm Incubators. Credit: mOm Incubators.
The incubator is designed to save the lives of preterm babies in difficult environments. Credit: UKRI.
mOm Essential Incubator is compatible with all the major international power voltages. Credit: mOm Incubators.
mOm will deliver a total of 51 Essential Incubators to Ukraine in partnership with Crown Agents. Credit: mOm Incubators.

The mOm Essential Incubator is a compact and portable neonatal incubator developed by mOm Incubators and the engineering team at EG Technology.

There are more than one million premature infant deaths each year, three quarters of which could be prevented through thermoregulation. The mOm incubator is intended to save the lives of premature infants in complicated, low or middle-income environments, as well as expand routine neonatal care alternatives in the UK and other developed nations.

The incubator helps maintain babies’ core temperature during intradepartmental transfer by offering them a safe thermoregulated environment. It can be operated across various settings, from remote and rural births, intrahospital transport and transitional care to neonatal units of diverse capabilities, and can be used on multiple power sources.

Development and approvals of the mOm Essential Incubator

The mOm Essential Incubator’s prototype was designed by James Roberts, founder and CEO of mOm. It received the Sir James Dyson Global Prize for Innovation for its design from the James Dyson Foundation in 2014.

The incubator was first clinically used at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, UK, in November 2021 and received the European CE mark in May 2022. The incubators will be first deployed in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as part of a series of pilot projects to reduce the need to admit preterm babies to special care for a short term.

In May 2022, mOm delivered its first shipment of mOm Essential Incubators to Ukraine in partnership with Crown Agents, a not-for-profit international development company. A total of 51 incubators will be delivered to the country, which will provide life-saving intervention to up to 100 babies a week. The international deployment is being funded by Jersey Overseas Aid, an international aid agency, in conjugation with a philanthropic foundation based in Jersey.

mOm Essential Incubator design and features

The mOm Essential Incubator is a cost-effective, high-quality, robust, easy to set up and easy to use incubator. It can be assembled on any bed or cot, or on its dedicated trolley.

The inflatable incubator weighs 20kg and measures 764mm in length, 442mm in height and 445mm in width. It incorporates a replaceable infant compartment and a back-up battery, is energy-efficient, and can withstand voltage fluctuations.

The device operates in an air-controlled mode and can be set at temperatures ranging from 30°C to 37°C. Besides a regulated incubator temperature, an optional skin temperature probe can be plugged in to get the child’s body temperature.

The mOm Essential Incubator provides a stable heated environment for a newborn in the delivery ward itself, allowing the baby to be at the mother’s bedside. It is designed to work in challenging environments while being easy to maintain.

Financing for the mOm Essential Incubator

Backed by UK-based entrepreneurs Holly Branson and James Dyson, the mOm Essential Incubator project is being co-funded by Innovate UK, a UK Government-backed agency that provides funding and support for organisations developing innovative products and services.

In June 2016, mOm raised £630,000 ($892,004) in a seed investment round led by MaSa Partners. Other investors in the round included Holly Branson, the Chief Purpose and Vision Officer of the Virgin Group, Johannes Heine, The London Co Investment Fund, and MassChallenge advisory board member Lord Rumi Verjee as part of The Rumi Foundation, and Dr Joshua Boger, founder of Vertex Pharmaceutical.

The project is also supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, Medtech Innovator Accelerator and Clario, a company that provides clinical services and customisable medical devices.

Key players involved in the project

The development and industrialisation of the mOm Essential Incubator were carried out in collaboration with Cambridge Medtech Solutions, a medical device specialist based in Cambridge, UK. The system is manufactured by Cogent Technology, a medical device assembly specialist based in Felixstowe, UK.

Arrow Medical, a medical device manufacturer based in Kington, performs the welding and assembly of the mOm incubators, while mouldings are managed by Fenland RP, which is based in Wisbech.