An NFC necklace that stores children's immunisation records and a wearable soap-crayon are the winners of UNICEF's Wearables for Good challenge, in collaboration with ARM and frog.
Designed to change the perception of wearable tech from "nice-to-have devices to life-saving products", the competition received 250 design submissions from 65 countries before selecting ten finalists from around the world.
The two winning projects, Khushi Baby and SoaPen, are both joint Indian-US teams and were each awarded a $15,000 prize plus incubation and mentoring. Earlier this year, we profiled the WAAA! project which was the UK finalist in the competition, working on a low cost, neonatal wearable sensor system.
Khushi Baby transforms the traditional kaala dhaago black thread worn by Indian children to protect them from the evil eye (nazar) into a digital storage unit for their medical and immunisation records.
Healthcare workers can scan the NFC chip with a smartphone to get access to the data without consulting a centralised database and patient data is later synced to the cloud. The pilot scheme was conducted in 100 villages in rural Udaipur, Rajasthan.
"The Khushi Baby system enables access to culturally appropriate wearable digital medical records, even in the most remote and isolated areas," said team member and entrepreneur Ruchit Nagar.
"As a UNICEF Wearables for Good Challenge winner, we look to expand from monitoring the vaccination progress of 1,000 children in 100 villages to a larger beneficiary base in areas beyond India where our digital system can streamline access and delivery to health care."
The second winner was SoaPen which aims to reduce infant mortality rates by promoting hand-washing in 3 - 6 year old children and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. It's a soap crayon, worn around the neck or on the wrist by parents and teachers, which can be used to draw or write on kids' skin to make personal hygiene more fun and engaging.
Alongside the challenge, UNICEF's first official Wearable for Good is its Kid Power band, currently available in the US, which wants to get kids in developed countries such as America more active completing virtual charity 'missions'.
Through completing these, children can unlock therapeutic food packages for malnourished children via donations from parents, schools and corporate sponsors. There's a Star Wars limited edition band - Disney is a partner alongside Target - and so far 188,000 food packets have been unlocked.