How this vaccines cooler is going to save people’s lives

Keeping vaccines cold when you’re delivering them to the most remote places on earth is a tough challenge. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has come with quite a creative and innovative solution for that challenge, I must say. Hang on with me for the Indigo Cooler.

Keeping vaccines cold

It all started with Papa Blandine Mwey, who worked as a vaccinator in Congo for more than a decade. The story goes that she travelled by foot to villages all over the region so she could vaccinate kids who lived too far from a health clinic to make the trip themselves as it is nearly 5,100 miles away.

The big challenge for her and the health clinics in this situation is to keep these vaccines in the right temperature range through each step of the “cold chain”. Unfortunately, many health clinics where vaccinators like Blandine pick up the vaccines are located in areas with frequent power outages or no electrical grid at all. But even if the vaccines survive the clinic, they still need to make it to the children. This is also a challenge since ice-lined coolers start tot melt soon.

Blandine and Bill Gates meet each other.

No ice, no batteries and no power

So a couple of years ago, Bill Gates and his foundation requested some inventors of Global Good to change the game for vaccinators like Blandine. In 2015 the inventors came up with two game changers: de MetaFridge and the Indigo cooler. Both keep vaccines at the right temperature for at least five days with no ice, no batteries, and no power required during cooling. Isn’t that amazing? Here’s Bill Gates explaining:

What causes the magic

It may sound counter intuitive, but the vaccins cooler needs heat before you can use it. When exposed to a heat source, water inside its walls evaporates and moves into a separate compartment. It can then sit on a shelf for months after heating, ready for use. All of this is caused by two important inventions.

The first is the MetaFridge. Although it looks like a regular refrigerator, MetaFridge has a hidden super power: it keeps vaccines cold without power for at least five days. The electrical components are designed to keep working through power surges and brown-outs. During extended outages, an easy-to-read screen tells you how much longer it can stay cool without power, so that health workers know when to run a generator or to move vaccines elsewhere. And if the fridge stops working properly, it transmits data remotely to a service team so they can fix it before vaccines are at risk of spoiling.

The other innovation Global Good invented is the Indigo cooler, which is the device you see Blandine using in the above video. It keeps vaccines at the right temperature for at least five days with no ice, no batteries, and no power required during cooling.

Last note

The Indigo cooler is in the field trial phase. It’s still early, but the data suggest that the Indigo is allowing vaccinators to reach four times as many places as they could with the old ice-based coolers. That’s a big deal, and I’m excited to learn more.

For sure I’m always picky about what kind of philanthropic activities my money goes to, but this idea of the Indigo cooler really convinced me to do good. If you like to do that yourself as well, go to their user-friendly website. You can also think about it first, ofcourse. The minimum donation amount is 10 dollars, so it’s for every budget.

I hope MetaFridge and the Indigo cooler inspire other inventors to find creative solutions like these. Let me know if you already heard of this and what you think of this invention in the comment section below.

Find some other quirky and inventive ideas that thrive social change in philanthrophy and business in this section. And find other blogs about health in this section.

Indigo cooler philanthropy

How this business idea can help allergic people live their best lives

I think the great thing about technology is that it can make the impossible possible in many ways. For me, the creation of this allergy tester called the Nima Sensor is a great example of that.   

How it all started

The founders of this portable device started off with a clear mission. Due to their own struggle with food allergies and gluten intolerance, Scott Sundvor and Shireen Yates started to think about a way to make it much easier for people with allergies to live their healthiest selves. 

After the mission statement settled, both developed a clear vision for the business: what about a device that gives people the power to really know what’s in their food? 

The founders envisioned someting completely new to the world. It became a sensor that allows consumers with allergies to quickly test for proteins they want to avoid, before they start eating.  Basically you scan your food and just wait for the display to give you the answer.

From @swartttt

BLEEP – Just scan!

Since I’ve been struggling with allergies all my life, I know how exciting it is to go to a restaurant without any worry. Just scan your food and wait for the smiley to come… can you imagine? How great is that?! I’m truly obsessed with this tech invention; I have to say!  There is a peanut-version coming up and hopefully there will be a allergy tester for detecting nuts in future. Leave a comment down below to let me know what kind of allergy you have!   

And even though the vision behind the invention sounds really great and very innovative, you may find it hard to believe that this tech piece actually works. But it does, since it meets every European standard.


I price Yireen Yates and Scott Sundvor for their audacity. In Time Yireen let us know that what she envisioned was labeled as practically unfeasible. Due to her tenacity, imagination and perseverance, she worked her way out and found a connection with valuable people like scientists and tech specialists to make her way to the top.   

What you see happening in the world is that this audacity is available to more and more organizations as technology shifts from “could it be done?” to: “do we have the guts?”. You only need some great ideas and some brave people to conquer the world.  

Go check this allergy tester outBig opportunity for all allergic people!

If you’re interested in more quirky, innovative business ideas, head over to these blogs:

Lisanne Swart granted permission to use these photos by NimaSensor.