Calling all designers and techies!
Humanitarian charity UNICEF is on the hunt for the best and brightest to design wearable technology that can make a difference in the world through their latest challenge, Wearables for Good. We all know wearable technology can help you get fit, track your health, and stay connected, but could they also be life-saving?
UNICEF has partnered with processor manufacturer ARM and San Francisco-based design firm Frog to launch the Wearables for Good initiative. The contest challenges technology designers of all ages and backgrounds to find a solution for “pressing maternal, newborn or child health problems.” They’re looking for wearable technology ideas that can help women and children in environments where there are little resources.
For example, wearable devices could help monitor and diagnose health needs for pregnant mothers, quickly alert people to fires and other emergencies in the vicinity, or even encourage behavioral changes like washing hands.
“Technology should be used to create opportunity for all; improving child health, education and prospects, and access to it should not be governed by economic status or geography,” said Simon Segars, CEO, ARM in a press release.
“We have spent 25 years enabling life-changing technologies and together with UNICEF’s innovation experts we believe this partnership can deliver a positive social impact for children all-around the world.”
UNICEF has already been using some low-tech wearables. For example, an arm measuring tape reveals whether a child is getting enough healthy food, the Embrace infant warmer helps regulate the body temperature of premature babies with a sleeping bag with a wax-like substance, and even the UNICEF Kid Power program encourages American elementary school students to stay active with a special fitness band. There are always technical challenges to create products that can withstand remote places, but UNICEF believes wearables could be even more effective with the digital advances we’ve made today.
To come up with devices that will work for people in the poorest, most remote areas around the world, the contest has four categories: systems that can provide alerts, provide diagnosis for disease, help to improve basic nutrition and education and ways to gather and analyze data. Naturally, they’re looking for the most cost-effective, durable, low-power, and scalable concepts.
Photos via UNICEF/Wearables for Good
Contestants can find all of the guidelines in the Wearables for Good Use Case Handbook. Students, professionals, entrepreneurs and other creative thinkers can apply with their ideas through August 4, 2015. Two winners will be announced in the fall, and each will receive $15,000 in funding and mentoring from ARM and Frog.
Read more Tech Tuesday features here.