About 5 to 10 percent of newborns need phototherapy to treat jaundice. Rather than put them in bassinets under special lights while wearing eye protection, a new garment woven with optically-conductive fibers could enable them to be treated and cuddled simultaneously. From Smithsonian:
“Currently, newborn babies need to stay naked under strong blue light, with eye protection, and away from their mothers,” says Luciano Boesel, a textile scientist at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. “We wanted to develop a portable textile system that babies could use, so that the treatment could eventually even be performed at home, together with their parents.”
…The new textile is an improvement over previous treatments in that it’s breathable, washable, and can be worn directly next to the baby’s skin, Boesel says. The team found that the weaving process that produced the best result in terms of light penetration is the process that produces satin. In the satin weave, the optical threads don’t cross with the traditional thread very often, which maximizes light available to be emitted over the skin. It also makes the fabric quite soft. The fabric can be sewn into pajamas where the light-emitting part faces in, so no light is shining towards the baby’s eyes, meaning there’s no need for sunglasses.
“POF-yarn weaves: controlling the light out-coupling of wearable phototherapy devices” (Biomedical Optics Express)