Neonatal jaundice is a common affliction for babies born premature. If left untreated it can lead to brain damage in the newborn that may be irreversible. The irony in low income settings is that the simple use of blue light phototherapy can reverse the high levels of bilirubin in the blood and lead to a full recovery. The monitoring of bilirubin in the blood is performed by hospital laboratories in developed country settings as a routine course of treatment.

The objective of this work is to determine the accuracy and feasibility of a new point of care device called BiliSpec to measure total bilirubin concentration in neonates in low-resource settings. BiliSpec provides an important tool to monitor the efficacy and progress of phototherapy, ensuring appropriate treatment dosage and duration. Used together, BiliSpec and blue light phototherapy have the potential to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with neonatal jaundice in low resource settings.

3rd Stone Design was enlisted by Rice University to assist in the development of the BiliSpec device from initial form factor research and product architecture definition through to Beta Unit deployment and testing. Our work encompassed industrial, mechanical and electrical design while working together with the Rice photonics and electrical team. The final devices were trialed in Malawi and proved to have nearly identical datasets to the conventional equipment costing far more and notably not being portable in nature.