Bruce from Tennessee saw the post on the Make Magazine blog in March and contacted me to ask if there was any way he could help. I soon found him to be a great ally. He’s interested in helping to make circuit boards for the bili lights, and after a flurry of emails back and forth, today I received the first prototype PCB (or actually “Milled Circuit Board”, as it was actually done on a CNC router) in the mail. We’re well on our way to having circuit boards that will make bili lights even simpler to produce!

Thanks Bruce!

The Vanderbilt-Guatemala Connection

Becca Hudson, a student in the Biomedical program at Vanderbilt University, contacted me a couple of months ago about making a bili light to take to Guatemala. In true Tinkering spirit, she modified the design to suit her needs, and made a beautiful bili light that is now in use in Guatemala. Here are a few pictures from Becca. One shows Becca with Sergio, the chief engineer

Cynthia Paschal, Becca’s teacher in Biomedical Engineering, said:

“The light was indeed a success and was delivered to Hospital Nacional de Pedro de Bethancourt [English translation] in Antigua, Guatemala

I look forward to getting more updates from Vanderbilt and Guatemala.


Soldering at Chabot

Luma League was at Chabot Space and Science Center on Saturday, April 14th. Here are a few photos from the day. Fourteen people, 11 of them under 11 years old, contributed their time and talents to solder an LED board that will be going into a Luma League Phototherapy Light for one of our partner hospitals in the developing world.

Want to get involved? You can Volunteer to teach soldering at Luma League’s booth at Maker Faire, coming up in three weeks! No prior experience needed, we’ll be holding training sessions for volunteers.

Molly’s Research Project

Molly Soldering a bili light

Moly Soldering

Molly and her dad, Art, who is an old friend of mine, came by on Sunday to talk tinkering, bili lights, and Make-ing. I asked Molly if she wanted to be the first guinea pig for the activity I’m planning for Maker Faire.

Molly’s an old hand at soldering so she didn’t need much in the way of direction. She soldered the three blue LED’s and the resistor that limits the current for them, and a few minutes later she was attaching the power supply.

Molly looks at the blue light from LED's she soldered for a bili light.

Good soldering, Molly!

She got the “long version” of the lecture- basically, everything that’s written in my FAQ and then some- on jaundice and bili lights. She immediately came up with her own research project: since the yellow color of bruises is caused by bilirubin, would a bili light help bruises to heal? Molly is an active soccer player and her left knee is quite bruised at  the moment. I said I don’t know, but I think it’s worth finding out, so I gave Molly the a kit to make one-half of a bili light: one project board, 60 LED’s, 20 resistors, a power supply, and a power connector. Molly’s going to try phototherapy on her bruises and report back the results. And Molly and Art will be helping to host the LumaLeague booth at Maker Faire, so you’ll be able to see her handiwork there!

A new “home” for Luma League

I’ve been working on a new “home page” for Luma League. I love my blog but it’s not for everybody- I want visitors to be able to get the idea when they hit the page, get auto-evangelicized, and get the info they want when they want it, rather than being tossed right onto  the blog. So, here it is, the debut of the new Luma League home page –

Since this was posted, Melissa Shimmin of Shimmin Design completely redesigned our web site, giving us what you see now! Thank you, Melissa!

Made In DR Congo…?

A few weeks ago, I asked Shane, my dear friend and film-maker, to help me publicly launch the project by making a short video.

As it turns out, Dr. Chris Carpenter is in town this week, and Shane is out of town for the holiday. So Shane corralled his partner in film-making, Arne, into conducting an interview with Chris this morning. It was a lot of fun, and great to meet Arne for real (we’d only met at events and parties before) and really great to get to spend an hour with Chris.


View HEAL Africa Hospital in a larger map

Chris told me that he knows Bizi from the HEAL Africa hospital in Goma, DR Congo (whose nick-name I’ve been mis-spelling until now- it’s not “Buzi”, it’s “Bizi”). He told me about Bizi and now I know that I have a really good, solid connection in DR Congo.

One thing that we spoke about briefly was the possibility of assembling bili lights in DR Congo. Chris felt that it would be a huge benefit to the local economy to have them made there, and that even a tiny wage, by Developed World standards, would be very much appreciated by the locals. I have thought along these lines before, but I had no idea whether it was a good idea… and honestly, I still don’t! There are many ways it could go wrong. But knowing that there is someone there I can trust, namely Bizi, makes me think it may be possible.

I want my, I want my, I want my SLD70E470!

I’m out of the photocells that the bili meter uses, the Silonex SLD70E470. Silonex sent me three sample units; I burned one up in testing, and the other two are working in bili light meters in Haiti and DR Congo.

I tried to order some today, but the only place I could find them is Allied, at the price listed previously, I think $6.70. But apparently they don’t stock the part (and never did) and no one else does either, at least not in the US. So, to order some, the minumum order would be 50 units, which is over $330.

I wrote to Margy at Silonex, who sent me the previous samples. I’d like to buy, say six or so, and I’d be happy to pay for them at this point. Margy’s auto-response says she’s in China for the next week or so. I guess we’ll see what she says when she get back.

Awesome Awesome Awesome!

When I gave the bili lights to Dr. Chris and Dr. Josh, I told them what I want: at least one picture of a smiling parent holding a baby that has been helped by my bili light.

Today, Chris came through – big time – TIMES FIVE!

Thank you, Chris!