BiliCam: Join Us in Helping Babies and Families
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This campaign ended on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014
At UW Medicine and the University of Washington, we wanted to develop a way for parents to tell — without subjecting their baby to a painful test — whether their infant was OK. And we have: BiliCam. By using a smartphone app, parents can determine if their child is well or if they need to see the doctor. We need your support to test BiliCam on more kids; with your help, we can improve the device’s accuracy and bring it closer to market.
What will your gift do? It’ll help create a useful tool for parents in the U.S. And a potentially life-saving device in the developing world, where jaundice is under-diagnosed and under-treated. So please join us today!
A case study
After a long labor, you hold your new baby boy, Jameson, in your arms for the first time! You’re heading home from the hospital on his second day of life… exhausted, thrilled, and anxious about what to expect next.
Once home, Jameson starts turning a bit yellow from newborn jaundice. Your doctor told you to watch out for too much yellowing. On day three, you start wondering “how yellow is too yellow?” You can’t tell if it’s getting better or worse. Jameson’s first appointment with your new pediatric doctor is in a couple of days, but you're worried so you decide to call your doctor’s office and they figure out how to squeeze you into the schedule today.
After a long drive in horrible traffic you arrive at the clinic and finally get in to see the doctor. She says Jameson is “pretty jaundiced” and decides to give him a blood test to see if treatment is necessary. To do this, she has to poke his heel with a steel lancet, and then squeeze his leg and foot until enough blood has been collected into a small tube that it can be sent out to a lab for analysis.
The doctor calls that evening with the lab result, which was in the “high intermediate risk” zone, indicating that he should be checked again the next day. On Jameson’s fourth and fifth days of life, the whole process repeats itself, and you become even more exhausted and sleep-deprived. On the evening of the fifth day, the test results indicate the jaundice is severe enough to require treatment, and the doctor arranges for you to go to the local children’s hospital for phototherapy, the treatment for this condition.
This story above is not unusual - most newborns develop visible jaundice which frequently has to be closely monitored by repeated blood tests, adding hassles and stress for new parents and their baby. To solve this problem, we invented BiliCam -- a new smartphone application that could allow a healthcare provider or parent to simply take a photograph of the newborn, send it to a server for analysis, and receive an almost instantaneous test result indicating the degree of jaundice. BiliCam will make screening for and monitoring jaundice much easier, faster, and noninvasive, saving trips to the clinic, preventing many unnecessary blood tests, and reducing stress on the whole family.
BiliCam is a screening tool, rather than a definitive diagnostic. It will greatly reduce the number of blood tests (for Total Serum Bilirubin level, or "TSB") required. BiliCam has the advantages over the TSB test of being non-invasive and providing instant results; however, a high bilirubin result on BiliCam would then be followed by a TSB test to confirm. The BiliCam smartphone app will be equal to or more accurate than the most accurate noninvasive methods available, without having to purchase an expensive and specialized device and accessories, and with greater mobility and convenience.
BiliCam corrects for varied lighting conditions by the use of a color calibration card that we supply. The card is placed on the baby’s sternum before the photographs are taken. BiliCam’s machine learning algorithms allow it to accurately measure jaundice levels by analyzing the color of the baby’s skin.
Making BiliCam better
BiliCam's initial study was performed on a limited demographic: 100 newborns in Seattle, 59% of whom were white. BiliCam’s accuracy at measuring jaundice amidst a variety of skin pigmentations will improve as more data is acquired from babies of varied ethnicities through the clinical testing at other locations supported by this crowdfunding.
A global need
In many developing countries there is no clinical laboratory or bilirubinometer available, so jaundice is under-diagnosed, under-treated, and often develops into kernicterus, resulting in brain damage or even death. In these locations, where neonatal jaundice is the second or third leading cause of newborn mortality, BiliCam would be a life-saving essential.
Our friends at D-Rev have created a low-cost, LED-based phototherapy lamp for the hospitals and clinics in these countries. This product, called Brilliance, would provide a means of treatment for the jaundiced newborns identified from screening with BiliCam.
You can help
We would really appreciate your help in making BiliCam better — developing it will help parents in our region and around the world determine if their newborns have jaundice. There are a number of giving levels at the right; we appreciate gifts of all sizes. Thank you!
For More Information
Please follow @bilicamapp on Twitter and tell your friends!
UW News press release
BiliCam home page
UbiComp presentation on Vimeo by Lilian de Greef
Just some of our news coverage to date:
NBC News Health / KING5 Seattle
Reuters / Huffington Post
Med Device Online
Jim Taylor, MD. Dr. Taylor is a UW professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the medical director of the University of Washington Medical Center Newborn Nursery. He is also the director of the Pediatric Continuity Clinic Program, director of the Puget Sound Pediatric Research Network, and the co-managing director of the Better Outcomes through Research for Newborns (BORN) Network.
Jim Stout, M.D., MPH. Dr. Stout is a UW professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UW. He is also the director of the Interactive Medical Training Resources (iMTR) group at the UW Child Health Institute and director of the Asthma Clinic at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. He is a co-founder of the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), a non-profit organization headquartered in Boston. He works on local, national, and international projects with the common aim of improving the quality of health care.
Shwetak Patel, Ph.D. Dr. Patel is a UW associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering, where he leads the Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp) Lab. He was a founder of Zensi, Inc., a residential energy monitoring company, which was acquired by Belkin, Inc in 2010. He is also a co-founder of SNUPI Technologies, a low-power wireless sensor company. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008 and B.S. in Computer Science in 2003. Dr. Patel is a recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship ("Genius Grant").
Eric Larson, Ph.D. Dr. Larson is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Southern Methodist University, and a graduate of the UW UbiComp Laboratory.
Lilian de Greef and Mayank Goel are both current Ph.D. candidates in the UW UbiComp Lab.
We aim to collect data with hundreds of babies across multiple sites with a good distribution of race/ethnicity/skin color in order to develop our algorithms to work for all newborns. Each $25,000 will allow us to do a study at an additional site. We hope to fund studies at four different sites ($100,000) or more through this crowdfunding effort.
Example screenshot from BiliCam app:
Wai Son Wong
Martha and Tom Stukes
Lenchner Family Lenchner Family
Jackie Friedman Mighdoll
10 supporters have chosen not to be listed for "BiliCam: Join Us in Helping Babies and Families".
Make an Impact
Every gift helps get us a little closer to our goal!
Welcome to the Family
A gift of this amount provides either participating family compensation, or blood testing costs, for one baby in a clinical study.
Have a Cigar!
Participating family compensation AND blood testing costs for one baby.
Participating family compensation and blood testing costs for two babies
Baby's New Shoes
Participating family compensation and blood testing costs for one baby, plus corresponding (per capita) salary for the study coordinator at UW.
Per-capita costs for onsite research assistant salary to recruit one participant, carry out test, and perform follow-up tasks.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away...
Cost for one iPhone for the onsite research assistant to use BiliCam
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Travel costs for one BiliCam team member to remote clinical trial site to meet site personnel and train them on use of app and study protocol.
Look What the Stork Brought!
Costs for study coordinator for the entire study.
Rockin' That Cradle!
Costs for onsite research assistant at remote clinical trial site for the entire study.
Fund all costs for an entire study at one remote site!