Introduction: EL Wire to Help Little Kids - a Concept

About: love understanding people's needs and coming up with a product or solution to help.

What is this 'ible all about?

If you are a parent, you know babies are beautiful and fragile things.  In the first few days of life many children need some extra time in the hospital ward.  One common reason for a few days in the neonatal ward is paediatric jaundice (yellowing of the skin is a symptom).

Jaundice can be caused by the presence of bilirubin in the blood.  It is possible to break down the bilirubin through the application of phototherapy (light) of a certain wavelength.  The light breaks down the bilirubin that causes jaundice - a process called phototherapy. Once the bilirubin is broken down, it allows a well-hydrated baby to pass it out in their 'number ones and twos'.

Phototherapy systems on the market are cumbersome, expensive, and bulky.  Nevertheless these systems have been developed for approval as a medical device.

Here's an idea - what if you could use EL wire as a way of delivering the phototherapy in a blanket as a therapy for paediatric jaundice?

Some references:

Description of jaundice and phototherapy (1)

Description of jaundice and phototherapy (2)

Definition of a Medical Device

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The 'Lullaby' from GE


This 'ible presents some exploratory ideas only.  Please note the following:
- This is not a medical device
- No claims are made about safety or effectiveness of this device
- There are no device approvals or submission
- This 'ible does not represent the opinion of the author's employer
- I haven't done a prior art search, this idea may be out there already
- Medical devices have benefits and risks inherent with their use.  For an electronic device, significant work is required to demonstrate safety and effectiveness of the device.  Some examples of the work required to demonstrate this:

1. understanding intended use and forseeable misuse
2.  demonstration of safety and effectiveness including:
~ clinical data for effectiveness
~ demonstration of safety (not limited to) the independent compliance to standards such as:
* electomedical compatibility
* high voltage / risk of electric shock
* ingress protection against debris and liquids
* biocompatibility
* battery safety
* transportation
3. ethics approval
4. consequences and contra-indications of a therapy.  For instance - a light source might contain 'bad' wavelengths such as UV that causes skin cancer as well as the 'good' therapy wavelengths. 
5.  many other things! Nothing should take the place of a good clinician or medical specialist. If in doubt, see your paediatrician / doctor.

In short, don't try this at home! 

Step 1: What to Buy

Step 1:

Buy an EL battery powered kit. (link)

Make sure the light wavelength can provide isomerisation of the bilirubin (the thing that causes jaundice in the baby's bloodstream).  This wavelength is 420-470 nanometers, or a blue color (close enough).

Buy a blanket (for example) (link)

A good blanket for newborns is the 'swaddle me'.  It is a great product, but as a baby gets older (3+ months) they wriggle out of it!  Fortunately the jaundice is more an issue at the younger ages.

1) If you can come up with a wrap for a child less than 6 months old - my hat off to you!!
2) Nothing is warmer than a cuddle for your child.

Step 2: Activate!

Step 2:

Wrap the (little) person in EL wire and blanket.

Switch on the EL light!

Next Steps:

Up to you! It's a long road.  It is very rewarding to turn a concept from the idea phase into an approved medical device, helping (little) people every day.

I hope this 'ible inspires you to take the next steps toward such success.  Good Luck!

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