Development of a Freestanding, Portable, Solar-Powered, LED-based Phototherapy Device
Severe bilirubin encephalopathy from inadequately treated jaundice is a global health threat to newborns. Developing areas in Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Asia that have a high prevalence of the heritable hemolytic condition, G6PD deficiency, are particularly vulnerable, and numerous countries in those regions report jaundice as the second or third leading cause of neonatal death. Despite the simplicity of the therapeutic solution, early and effective phototherapy, these areas continue suffer significant burden from lack of access to devices that deliver light of the correct wavelength and intensity. Commercially available devices are prohibitively expensive and approaches in designing less expensive devices are suboptimal due to reliance on inconsistently available line power and need for bulky, rigid supports that are expensive for distribution. A novel approach is to create an inexpensive, compact, freestanding unit that is solar-charged and made with readily available materials.
Specific Aims of Proposal:
- Evaluate the prototype of an inexpensive, sustainable phototherapy device suitable for use in developing countries that is compact, lightweight, and operable independent of line power.
- Utilize inexpensive, commercially available materials. The prototype light source is flexible strips of small, high intensity LED bulbs originally developed for vehicle accent lighting. These are durable, long lasting, low energy-consuming and operable with a photovoltaic battery. The supporting material is stiff, reflective fabric sewn as a freestanding "hut" for placement over the baby.
- Optimize design to enable manufacture in target regions. This would dramatically decrease distribution cost and increase community engagement.