The world’s most effective newborn phototherapy device for low-resource hospitals. Firefly is a phototherapy device designed specifically to allow rural hospitals with limited resources and inexperienced staff to successfully treat otherwise healthy newborns for jaundice.


For global health NGOs focused on infant health who want to treat patients at the point of diagnosis rather than risk transporting them to crowded central facilities, Firefly is a newborn phototherapy device designed specifically to allow rural hospitals with limited resources and inexperienced staff to successfully treat otherwise healthy newborns for jaundice. Unlike the conventional overhead phototherapy devices hospitals might receive through international donations or a government purchase, Firefly provides high-intensity phototherapy that is “hard to use wrong”--in other words, the device eliminates the most common sources of product failure.

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Impact to Date

As of November 2018, the Firefly phototherapy device has treated more than 200,000 newborns in 25 countries. This year marks the first Firefly installations in Indonesia and Jamaica. Here all are of the current Firefly countries sorted by region:

Asia: Afghanistan, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe

The Caribbean: Haiti, Jamaica

DtM and partners MTTS and Day One Health continue to work with individual donors, corporate sponsors, international aid groups and government agencies to reach new hospitals and new countries with medical devices and user training.

Hospital staff at Dai Tu District Hospital in Vietnam care for a baby with Jaundice

Hospital staff at Dai Tu District Hospital in Vietnam care for a baby with Jaundice


Curing Jaundice

Global health experts estimate 5-10% of all newborn mortality is due to jaundice even though the cure is so simple: shine blue light on the baby's skin. Through research it became apparent to our design team that existing phototherapy devices are easy to misuse, resulting in many cases where jaundice is not treated effectively. We resolved to make a product that is hard to use wrong. DtM applied our own human-centered design process to create Firefly. Like the cure itself, Firefly is incredibly simple. 


Firefly is designed to be:

  • Hard to use wrong - the device is universally intuitive which leads to better treatment for all patients. It fits one infant instead of many to reduce the risk of cross infection.

  • Simple to clean - the bassinet is rounded and has no seams so that it can be wiped clean in seconds.

  • Radically effective - Because Firefly shines light from above and below, it reduces treatment time by at least 40% compared to state-of-the-art single-sided LED phototherapy.

  • Energy efficient - Firefly operates at just 30 watts - up to 70% less than other common phototherapy systems.

  • Easy to move - Firefly is small and durable, so it can be used in the mother’s recovery room. Firefly promotes breastfeeding, encourages mother-child bonding, and leads to superior treatment and patient supervision.

  • Functional for 5 years of 24/7 use - Firefly’s LEDs last up to 44,000 hours. We have eliminated all internal moving parts, including fans and adjustable components, that can be easily broken. In order to prevent insects, dusts and liquids from entering and damaging the device or dimming the lights, the outer casings have tight seams and no vents.

Why Current Devices Aren’t Enough

The Importance of Context-Appropriate Design


Intended Use


Actual Use

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Phototherapy is a simple treatment, but often it is administered inappropriately. Most overhead devices have adjustable height settings, but if not positioned correctly they do not provide the right treatment. Despite the fact that overhead phototherapy devices are intended to treat one infant at a time, clinicians in overcrowded, under-resourced hospitals attempt to treat many infants in the same device at once. This results in ineffective doses of phototherapy for all infants treated, and higher risk of cross-infection. By integrating the infant bed into the overall design and placing the lights at a non-adjustable, fixed distance, Firefly prevents users from providing ineffective doses of phototherapy to infant and prevents hospitals from placing multiple infants in the device. These design features allow Firefly to provide proper treatment to its patients no matter the circumstance.


Learn more


Take an in-depth look at the design decisions that led to Firefly

Read about Firefly's features and technical specifications


How to buy

Our Vietnamese manufacturing partner MTTS leads all Firefly production.  MTTS was established in 2004 with the goal of delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions for newborns in need of intensive medical care.  Firefly is part of MTTS's comprehensive suite of technologies for neonatal care, which includes a newborn CPAP and warmer.  MTTS and their Breath of Life program were recently featured on PBS Newshour


Quotes from Firefly Users

I like Firefly because I can lay next to my baby, and always be with him. Before I wasn’t able to be with my baby, and worried if he was OK.
— Nguyen Thu Tuyet, Mother
“Firefly provides very good access to the infant for bottle feeding, diaper changes, and even blood tests. We performed blood tests on each of the four infants treated so far without removing them from Firefly.
— Dr. Nguyen Thanh Ha, Director
We trust Firefly! There is no need to worry!
— Dr. Nguyen Thanh Ha, NICU Director

Firefly News from the Blog


We extend a big thank you to our donors, partners, and collaborators,
without whom Firefly could not have become such a success.



DtM Founding Donors

The Van Otterloo Family
The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
The Lynch Foundation
The Ashoka Foundation
The Lemelson Foundation
Peter de Roetth
The Bridgeway Fund
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.


Firefly Donors

The Lemelson Foundation
The Van Otterloo Family
Bohemian Foundation
An Anonymous Donor
ANT Italy – Friends of Trento Neonatology
The Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy
Martin and Debbie Hale

Firefly Partners

East Meets West Foundation
John Anner (United States)
Gaston Arnolda (Australia)
Anne de Bres (India)
Paolo Bridi (ANT Italy)
Carlo Celoan (ANT Italy)
Dan Fitzpatrick (The Philippines, Ghana)
Danica Kumara (Myanmar)
Eric Hemel (United States)
Gil Kemp (United States)
Bill Lee (United States)
Tom Low (United States)
Nguyen Thi Xuan Hoi (Vietnam)
Nguyen Nhung (Vietnam)
Katherine Maningas (Vietnam)
Luciano Moccia (East Timor)
Federica Passamani (Italy)
Dr. Tran Dinh Chien (Vietnam)
Tran T. Khanh Trang (Vietnam)
Vu Thuy Bac (Vietnam)

Medical Technology Transfer and Services
Matthew Blyde
Bui Van Ha
Gregory Dajer
Ryan Frisbie
Leon Hiemstra
Hoang Minh Duc
John Kís
Luu Thi Duom
Kelley Maynard
Nguyen Quang Hung
Michael O’Brien
Pham Thach Ngoc
Pham Van Tuong
Tran Sy Huan
Tran The Quynh
Trang Hoang Long
Trang Tuyet Nga
Van thi Thu Hau
Vu Thi Thoi


Firefly International Collaborators

DtM extends a special thanks to the teams of doctors, nurses, technicians, parents, and newborns in Vietnam who made the Firefly clinical evaluation possible.

National OBGYN Hospital
Dr. Nguyen Thanh Ha
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Loi

Moc Chau District Hospital
Dr. Khuat Thanh Binh
Head Nurse Dang Van Tai

St. Paul General Hospital
Dr. Pham Do Ngoc Diep
Dr. Thai Bang Giang
Nurse Practitioner Dan Thuy Quynh

Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children
Dr. Tran Hoang
Head Nurse Hoang Thi Thanh Tam

With special mention to these families:
- The Nguyen family at Hai Duong Pediatric Hospital for allowing Nguyen Van Hoang to be the first newborn treated briefly by the Firefly alpha concept.
- The Nguyen family at National OBGYN Hospital for allowing Nguyen Huong Giang to be the first newborn treated by Firefly.
- The Le family at National OBGYN Hospital for allowing their newborn, Le Bao Chan, to benefit from the first full Firefly treatment.
- The Le family at Moc Chau District Hospital, for allowing their newborn, Le Minh Anh, to be the first infant treated by Firefly in a district hospital.
- The Dong Anh family at St. Paul General Hospital, for graciously hosting us at their home after their severely jaundiced newborn, Dong Anh Ngoc successfully avoided an exchange blood transfusion through treatment with Firefly.
- The Foronda family at Philippines General Hospital for being the first to treat their newborn, Marlaine Foronda, with Firefly in mom’s bed.
- The To family at Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children for being the first to treat their newborn, To Trai, in mom’s bed in Vietnam.

...and more than 200 doctors, nurses, administrators, technicians, parents, and newborns who took their time to try Firefly and give us critical feedback during our visits across South and Southeast Asia.

East Meets West Foundation (host)
Bac Ninh Provincial Hospital
Bac Giang Provincial Hospital
Dai Tu District Hospital
Ha Nam District Hospital
Hai Chau District Hospital
Hai Duong Provincial Hospital
Mai Chau District Hospital
Nam Dinh Provincial Hospital
National Hospital of Pediatrics
Ninh Giang District Hospital
Phu Binh Health Center
Thai Nguyen Provincial Hospital

The Philippines
East Meets West Foundation (host)
Philippines General Hospital
Dr. Jose Fabella National Hospital

Cambodian Health Committee (host)
Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital
Tonle Bati Health Clinic
Centre Kram Ngoy

Medicine Mondiale (host)
Kanti Children’s Hospital, Kathmandu
T.U. Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu
Helping Hands Clinic, Chahabil
Patan Hospital, Newborn Unit
Paropakar Maternity Hospital, Thapathali
Scheer Memorial Hospital, Banepa
Dhulikel Hospital, Dhulikel, Kavre District
Sindupalchowk District Hospital, Chautara

Smiling Sun Franchise Program, Dhaka (host)
Smiling Sun Franchise Program Clinic, Tangi

International Organization for Migration (host)
Rumah Sakit Referral Hospital Meulaboh
Meurebo Puskesmas Health Clinic
Meurebo Private Clinic

Chengelpattu Medical College, Neonatal Unit


Firefly U.S. Collaborators

Key Advisors
Caitrin Abshere - Innosight
Karen Copenhaver - Choate, Hall & Stewart
Dave Duncanson - Product Design
Danielle D. Duplin - DtM Board Member
Michael Foster - DtM Board Member
Pete Flowers - Actinica
Bob Hartmann - IDEO
Dr. Priscilla Joe - Oakland Children’s Hospital
Jonathan Moulton - DtM Board Member
Ron Newton - Global Healing
Chris Noble - DtM Board Member
Dr. Kristian Olson - MGH Center for Global Health
Dr. Steven Ringer - Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Ben Spiess - Stoel Rives
Tom Weis - Industrial Design
Lee Zamir - Bose Corporation

Engineering Design
Larry Cochran - Boston Design Solutions
Mike Damiano - Boston Design Solutions
Dave Duncanson - Product Design
John Dunn - Excellus Engineering
John Ellis - Optics for Hire
Joe Galibois - Boston Design Solutions
Oakley Thomas - Mechanical Engineering
Anatoli Trafimuk - Optics for Hire

MIT/Rhode Island School of Design Student Team
Product Design and Development
Steve Eppinger, Instructor
Matthew Kressy, Instructor
Warren Seering, Instructor
David Bentham, Advisor, Philips Design
Liron Azrielant
Adah Chan
Emily Edwards
Andre Jacobus Hamman
William Harris
Nabil Laoudji
Alicia Lew
Sivesh Selvakumar
Karan Singh


Babson College Student Team
Product Design and Development
Sebastian Fixson, Instructor
Rahul Bhansali
Prakash Bhatia
Lara Clemenzi
Shilpi Gupta
Molly McDonald


Additional Firefly U.S. Collaborators

Dr. Mandy Belfort - Children’s Hospital Boston
Aya Caldwell - MGH Center for Global Health
Tim Carroll - Solid Concepts
Kimi Ceridon - Kalepa Tech
Seth Coe-Sullivan - QD Vision
Nathan Cooke - MIT D-Lab
Daniel Courcy - Dassault Systemes SolidWorks
Michael Denninger - Philips Color Kinetics
Otto DeRuntz - Mechanical Engineering
Paul Dome - Small Army
Alexei Erchak - Luminus Devices
Dr. Thomas Eusterbrock - Children’s Hospital
Corinne Fandel - Dassault Systemes SolidWorks
Stephen Fantone - Optikos
Peter Fichter - Program Management
Sanjli Gidwaney - Design for Change USA
Dr. Terri Gorman - Children’s Hospital Boston
Darren He - Veisem
Mark Jeunnette - MIT
Jeewon Jung - IDEO

Christine Kerrigan - Alioop
Matt Kihm - Rhode Island School of Design
Steve Kolander - Small Army
Sloan Kulper -  One Earth Designs
Phil Levine - Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Luke Lfland - Global Healing
Scott Mackie - IDEO
Stephen McGee - Videography
Tim McNerney - Rethink Robotics
Raj Melville - Deshpande Foundation
Andrew Mocny - Rhode Island School of Design
Rakesh Pandey - Social Enterprise Consulting
Mihir Ravel - Olin College
J. Ravi - Semlux Technologies
John Rearick - Choate, Hall & Stewart
Gerd Schmieta - shmietaplus
John Thiell - Solid Concepts
Henk Vreman - Stanford University
Julian Wong - Industrial Design


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