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.