Incubators have been in use since the 19th century and have significantly improved survival for premature infants. However, incubator lighting systems still can still be improved. Proposed is a project to develop and test the feasibility and acceptability of a solid state lighting (SSL) system for use with neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) incubators. The system would 1) promote circadian entrainment in premature infants, 2) provide excellent visibility of infant anatomy for nurses and physicians during critical tasks (e.g., insertion of an intravenous catheter), and 3) provide general illumination in the incubator for direct and remote (i.e., with camera) viewing for families and caregivers. Using metrics developed by our academic partner (LRC/RPI), the spectral power distribution of the light source providing general illumination and the spectral response of the camera will be optimized for high color fidelity at remote locations.!The SSL system is a simple and yet novel idea, taking advantage of the latest lighting research and development. There are no devices currently on the market that are designed to deliver prescribed doses of light for multiple tasks associated with incubators. The system is small, adaptable to any incubator, and should provide flexibility and enhanced utility to the users (nurses, physicians, and parents). The collaboration between a neonatologist (PI) and researchers/lighting engineers at the LRC/RPI as well as a prominent manufacturer, SEC, makes this proposal unique.
This study will develop and test the safety and feasibility of a lighting system that can be integrated with the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) incubator to promote circadian entrainment in premature infants, provide excellent visibility of infant anatomy for nurses and physicians during critical tasks, and provide general illumination in the incubator for direct and remote viewing for families and caregivers. The development of a lighting system that can deliver targeted lighting with variable intensity and spectrum to the incubator can improve the lighted environment in incubators, and promote well-being in this fragile population.