Wearable For Goods
Launched in May this year by partners UNICEF, ARM and frog, the Wearables for Good Challenge called on global “makers, engineers, do-gooders, executives, computer scientists, inventors, [and] innovators” to design and develop wearables and sensor technology that aren’t merely nice to have, but needed. 46 countries from 6 continents presented 250 ideas, and the ten shortlisted concepts are extraordinary designs capable of aiding the world’s most vulnerable. With current wearables generally targeting conventional lifestyle issues, the Wearables for Good Challenge has expanded this focus to maternal and child health problems.
Problems addressed by the ten finalist ideas include health, sanitation and hygiene, the availability of potable water, and child protection. Selected design teams will now develop their concepts into working prototypes, to be submitted in October. In November, two winners will be announced at the ARM TechCon in Santa Clara, US and in Helsinki, Finland, receiving prizes of $15,000 and incubation and mentoring from UNICEF, ARM, and frog.
Students at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta submitted their idea for a wearable device to facilitate record keeping while aiding in the tracking of medication distributed in post-disaster contexts. Their wearable wristband with NFC communication technology would give patients a more interactive role in their own treatment while allowing medical professionals access to their information through a connected app.
Jesica Marquez and Chen Liang want to make safe drinking water globally available with their wearable water purification device. The bracelet contains a UV purifying light bulb that, when placed in a container of water, emits UV light to kill contaminants and disease-causing bacteria in minutes. Data is also collected to help prevent future water-related issues.
This team from Hochiminh City, Vietnam has proposed a system to help protect children from abuse while tracking their health. The water-resistant band collects data about a child’s health and location, as well as audial data, which is transmitted to a server from which aid organizations can observe the user’s condition.
Bridging the world’s immunization gap, Khushi Baby is a system that tracks vaccination and mobilization. A large team consisting of members based both in the US and Northern India has devised a digital necklace that communicates with a mobile app for community health workers. Patient data can be scanned and synced to the cloud remotely. Mixing culture with technology, this tool is designed to mirror the kaala dhaago, or black thread, that traditionally protects children from the evil eye.
University students based off Chennai, India, offer a Bluetooth-based device to be worn in the ear that provides a multi-parameter monitoring platform. With costs potentially as low as $25, the non-invasive device tracks a child’s respiration rate, heart rate, body temperature, and relative breath humidity. Streamed through a Bluetooth internet gateway device, the data is then presented to doctors via a web page or app, highlighting abnormal instances.
Indian and Korean designers are proposing a wearable and portable soap to encourage hand washing, thereby reducing the risk of catching and spreading diseases. This crayon-like soap allows users to peel off soap layer by layer, and its ability to draw on the skin makes it fun for children.
Attempting to solve the challenge of providing healthcare workers with advanced healthcare tech in low resource and poorly funded communities, East African and US entrepreneurs have planned a device to collect patient data, provide risk assessment tools, and allow NGOs and governments to map diseases. Healthcare technologies can be provided for .20 cents per patient per year.
Nigerian and US based designers have teamed up on this real-time temperature monitor and alert system, designed to save the lives of children under five who are at risk of Malaria. The bracelet is colorful and chewable and measures a child’s temperature and sweat patterns, analyzing the results to detect dangerous patterns that indicate risk of Malaria.
From entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, Totem Open Health is an open platform and ecosystem for wearable health technology. It includes sensors, storage, data collection, sharing, analysis and algorithmic interpretation. The open system allows for unhindered collaboration, faster innovation, and localized development to address low-volume niche problem areas, and knowledge is shared to the benefit of all.
A team of UK academics have tackled newborn monitoring with APGAR (appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiratory) data collection. Soft patch sensors on a newborn baby are used by a mobile phone, text-based surveillance service that captures data when newborns are at risk. This concept automates clinical assessments to enable safe and efficient clinical work.