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This Concept Incubator Could Be the Artificial Womb of the Future

At the recent Biodesign Challenge Summit, which saw 24 student teams from 22 universities around the world showcasing various scientific projects, a group of students from the ArtEZ school of Product Design showcased a concept crib called the Par-tu-ri-ent. An incubator that mimics the internal environment of the womb, the concept crib of the future is an example of emerging tech for artificial wombs.

Intended for a future where a couple can raise a surrogate fetus completely outside the womb — or as a solution for helping premature babies — the hyphenated concept product has not only heating and feeding tubes to give a baby the warmth and nutrients it needs but also a portable device can be attached to the parent and used to remotely rock the crib gently waiting at home. The Par-tu-ri-ent also comes with a microphone that can record voices, allowing the growing fetus to connect with its parents’ voices. Plus the dome-shaped glass case allows people to literally watch their baby grow in real time, making “delivery” as easy as removing the lid off a jar.

While it may seem like a device straight-out-of-sci-fi, one meant only for super soldiers and body-swapping billionaires, the Par-tu-ri-ent is not so strange a concept. As FastCo Design points out, IVF is a rather regular procedure now. And scientists have been testing out-of-womb incubation methods, most notably nursing a sheep from embryo to lamb in an amniotic fluid-filled bag that’s more or less an artificial womb. Such a device as the Par-tu-ri-ent could soon exist to help better nurture premature babies and even serve as an option for parents who need to have children via surrogacy.