Japan Makes Prototype Ear-worn LED Lights for Nurses

Shimane University and a light maker have teamed up to make a protoype LED light worn on the ear to help nurses free up their hands when working in dark rooms, reported Asahi Shinbun.

With the new device, nurses will no longer have to carry a flash light around during night shifts that can disrupt slumbering patients.

 “Being suddenly exposed to bright light from a flashlight is unpleasant for patients,” said 57-year-old Makie Yano, a nurse at Shimane University Hospital, who asked the university to develop a hands-free light. “And we have to conduct many difficult tasks during the night with both hands, such as changing diapers and checking the insides of patients’ mouths. We need a light that can fulfill the needs of both patients and medical staff.”

Yano recommended the hospital to make a hands-free light during a survey in 2014 about the development of new medical instruments.

A device worn on the ear would be more convenient for lighting the direction that nurses are looking at, and concentrate on duties with both hands, she added.

The proposal was adopted by the university, and does not require government approval based on the pharmaceutical affairs law.

The university started researching on making the light in March 2015 and collaborated with LED lighting manufacturer and retailer Do Light, a company based in Izumo’s Ngahamacho district, and computer vendor Shimane Fujitsu headquartered in the city’s Hikawacho district. A prototype light was developed by July 2016.

The 57 millimeter long, 25 mm wide and 15.5 mm thick, and can be work on the ear with a headband. The light switch is controlled with motion sensors, flicking on when users tilt their heads forward.

Under a wide-angle mode and a spotlight mode, the light can illuminate an area of 20 cm in diameter and 40cm to 50 cm in front of the user at illumination levels of 100 lux.

The rechargeable light weighs about 37 grams and is dimmable.

University officials plan to market the light at around 15,000 Japanese Yen (US $149).

The prototype will be improved after gathering feedback from 20 nurses that tested the device in hospital wards and other facilities by the end of last month. 

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