Comet: Effective, compact, and low-cost phototherapy to treat newborn jaundice

D-Rev: Design for the Other Ninety Percent
Organization Location: 
Palo Alto, CA USA

Sixty percent of all newborns develop jaundice after birth. Of them, over twelve percent need immediate treatment for severe jaundice. Without timely treatment, newborns may suffer kernicterus (brain damage) and death. Unlike malaria or HIV, jaundice is a simple problem to solve: treatment is phototherapy in the form of intense blue lights. However, in low-resource clinics and hospitals around the world, existing phototherapy options - if they exist - are often ineffective, costly, difficult to maintain, and improperly used.

As part of a suite of jaundice diagnostic and treatment technologies aimed at ending kernicterus, we have developed Comet, an extremely low-cost, high-performance, and compact jaundice treatment device targeted at rural and limited-infrastructure clinics and hospitals in developing countries. Comet integrates low power consumption and high intensity LEDs with a lifespan of 3-5 years to provide phototherapy on par with state-of-the-art devices. However, Comet requires minimal maintenance and is designed to retail at less than $150.

In partnership with One Heart World-Wide, we are seeking seed funding to field test Comet in India and Nepal, refine the design for final embodiment, and begin market and delivery development. If all milestones are met, we will leverage the private sector, through partnerships with established and well-respected for-profit medical devices firms, to sustainably manufacture, distribute, sell, and maintain Comet.

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