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Philips tech enables wearable light therapy device

Evan Blass
April 24, 2006
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When Philips was looking for medical applications for their flexible Ledfoil disks, they were probably hoping to find a market of more than 200 people, but luckily for sufferers of the rare Crigler-Najjar syndrome, they happened to come across Dutch student Philomeen Engels. Engels, a recent graduate of the Delft University of Technology, had the idea of creating a wearable light therapy device using the Philips tech, which would free Crigler-Najjar patients -- whose bodies cannot break down the potentially lethal red blood cell by-product called bilirubine -- from the 12 hours they must spend inside converted sunbeds each day. The device, known as the Ledwrap, contains twelve Ledfoils between two layers of cloth and can act as either a sleeping bag or a rather bulky bodysuit for more freedom of movement -- well, as much movement as an extension cord allows, since the LEDs require too much juice to run on batteries. Engels hopes to have the first Ledwraps on the market within a year, although that may be a bit optimistic, as the prototype has yet to undergo the rather non-trivial task of actual medical testing.

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