Central Michigan Welcomes New Thermal Baby Manikin

Central Michigan University is welcoming a very special baby to their Chippewa family.

The students and staff at the Center for Merchandising and Design Technology are proud parents of a new baby manikin.

The baby’s name is Lumi and it’s the only infant-sized thermal manikin in the country and only the second in the world.

The baby is used to test baby gear for comfort and safety.

“Consumers again, they don’t just want to look good they want to feel good too and we’re taking that down to the baby level,” said Dr. Maureen MacGillivray, director of Center for Merchandising and Design Technology.

Staff and students welcomed the $120,000 baby from a company called Thermetrics with a baby shower.

The thermal manikin allowed merchandising and design students to test products impact on Lumi in different environments.

“We can simulate a car environment, we can simulate a day care environment, hot muggy environment, a dry environment, all of these are environments that a baby is going to be in so we can look at the interaction of how the baby is clothed or swaddled and the goal is to always have the baby to maintain thermal neutrality or to be comfortable,” said MacGillivray.

The manikin also has a sweating simulation to test the thermal properties of baby clothes, diapers, and even car seats.

“Since our program is so diverse we have so many different aspects of it. A lot of times they just see fashion as being aesthetics and wearing nice clothes but our program is really about just involving a lot of technology and different aspects within the industry as well and technology is a big aspect of the fashion and design industry,” said CMU graduate student, Cecilia Alfaro.

The manikin will help companies create clothes comfortable and safe for real babies to wear.

“I really love working with the technology and now learning how to use the software for the baby manikin is very awesome and I think that it’s a great opportunity to be able to learn things that not a lot of other students would be,” said senior Ericka Lamfers.

Next year, fashion, merchandising, and design students will have a competition to design baby clothes for the thermal manikin.