Zilma Reis of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil will develop a portable device to measure epidermal properties of the skin and evaluate its ability to determine gestational age in newborns. The skin epidermis is known to change during fetal development. They will exploit a non-invasive optical technique called photoelectric plethysmography that characterizes a material by analyzing its effect on the properties of an LED light shone on it. They will measure the optical properties of a phantom material that resembles fetal skin at different body sites, and select an LED and sensor that can best measure the relevant properties. They will develop software to transform the light signal into transmittable data, and build a prototype platform to test on newborns over a two week period in order to calibrate the light changes with gestational age. Finally, a prototype device will be constructed by 3D printing for future testing.
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