Contest Seeks Wearables To Improve Health in Developing Countries

May 29, 2015 in News

UNICEF has partnered with smartphone chip manufacturer ARM and design firm Frog to launch the “Wearables for Good” challenge, which aims to identify new uses for wearable devices that could help save the lives of individuals in underdeveloped countries, MedCity News reports.

Such individuals are likely to own smartphones that can be paired with wearable devices, according to MedCity News.

Details of Challenge

The challenge was created to encourage design and technology experts to develop wearables that could be used to improve health in underdeveloped countries. Further, UNICEF hopes the project will inspire entrepreneurs to recycle fitness trackers that individuals no longer use and repurpose them into devices that can help individuals avoid death, disease and disaster in underdeveloped regions.

Specifically, the challenge is seeking devices that can:

  • Alert individuals to disasters;
  • Officially register children located in remote regions;
  • Provide tools to help mothers and children access basic health care and nutrition; and
  • Serve as non-clinical diagnostic tools to examine infections.

The challenge is seeking both wearable devices, such as bracelets or headgear, and implantable devices, like pacemakers. The challenge also could include remote monitoring devices that can be placed near a person’s body and attached to their clothing.

The deadline to submit prospective devices is Aug. 4 (Ruhe, MedCity News, 5/28). Two challenge winners will be announced on Nov. 2 and will receive:

  • $15,000 in funding; and
  • Support, via incubation and mentorship, from ARM and frog (UNICEF release, 5/19).

The winning designs will be built and distributed by UNICEF using ARM-based hardware (Poeter, PCMag, 5/21).

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