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Meet the inflatable incubator that could save babies' lives

A British graduate has devised a blow-up incubator for the developing world that's less than one-tenth the cost of a standard system.

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23-year-old James Roberts with his invention. James Dyson Award

A young inventor in Britain has been awarded a cash grant to invest in his potentially life-saving creation -- an inflatable incubator that costs a mere $400 to deploy.

The inflatable incubator, which is the brainchild of 23-year-old graduate James Roberts, is a fraction of the price of a modern incubation system but complies with British incubation standards, offering stable heat and humidification.

The incubator, dubbed "MOM", even features a collapsible phototherapy unit for babies with jaundice. MOM is inflated manually, with temperature control courtesy of ceramic heating elements, and a screen that shows conditions inside the incubator, which can be custom set.

Incubators can provide the right conditions for prematurely-born babies, or for full-term babies who are unwell. The World Health Organisation says that three-quarters of the 1 billion children who die every year from pre-term birth complications, "Could be saved with current, cost-effective interventions, even without intensive care facilities."

MOM is the winner of the 2014 James Dyson Award, and as a result Roberts will nab £30,000 (roughly $48,000) to further prototype his invention. Last year's winner was the 3D-printed powered upper-body exoskeleton Titan Arm.