Skin-to-Skin Care Device

Under the direction of Assistant Professor Melissa Dawson, industrial design students in a senior Soft Studio course developed concepts for cloth wraps to improve the skin- to-skin care practice for NICU newborns. The industrial design students also collaborated with Professor Deborah Beardslee’s graphic design students to produce instructional brochures for selected cloth wrap designs. The full design process ensures that mothers and nurses will have both the materials and training necessary to properly wrap and position babies for the Skin-to-Skin incubation method.


Abracito, a Spanish term meaning to gently hug or embrace, is a novel collection of cloth wraps designed to enhance self-incubation results in the hospital and at home. Each wrap addresses different pain points in the Skin-to-Skin care experience, from breastfeeding to modesty, with consideration for fathers or other family members who may also practice this method with premature newborns.

The collection is comprised of five designs: each a unique, high-quality functional prototype. Using co-design strategies, RIT Hope for Honduras intends to develop a training program with Hospital Escuela's Education Clinic for the wraps to be produced in a micro entrepreneurial sewing collective, marketed in the US and Honduras with donations to women in need through Hospital Escuela.

Cuna | Cradle
Apoyo | Support
Ama | Loves
Enlace | Bond
Amable | Gentle

Next Phase

Secure grant funding
Prototype testing
Equity analysis
Research and development


Melissa Dawson, RIT Assistant Professor, Industrial Design


Mary Golden, RIT Assistant Professor, Interior Design

BFA Students

Hannah Lutz (Abracito: Cuna), Industrial Design
Michelle Vullo (Abracito: Enlace), Industrial Design
Erin Effinger (Abracito: Ama), Industrial Design
Kelsey Malone (Abracito: Apoyo), Industrial Design
Kaia Bolland (Abracito: Amable), Industrial Design
Alex Beahan, Industrial Design
David Cohen, Industrial Design

Mitch DeHond, Industrial Design
Emily Livecchi, Industrial Design
Emilio Lopata, Industrial Design
Noah Moran, Industrial Design
Daniel Schwab, Industrial Design
Cyndi Stetson, Industrial Design
Tucker Troast, Industrial Design