Because infant metabolisms aren’t resilient enough to break down the toxic chemical bilirubin, it builds up in their systems and causes jaundice. Jaundice turns the child’s skin yellow and could lead to brain damage or athetoid cerebral palsy and hearing loss. Traditionally, this is treated with light therapy in which the baby lays alone, blindfolded and naked inside an incubator while light transforms bilirubin into a more soluble form. However, a recent article from New Atlas offered a cozier solution with light-up textiles.
Researchers at Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology have developed a washable fabric woven with optical fibers attached to battery-operated LEDs. The light is directed just the right angle to illuminate the baby’s skin making protective eyewear unnecessary. The team says the fabric can be used to create rompers or sleeping bags to replace the uncomfortable treatment options used prior.