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Consumer Lifestyle
Published: 26 May 2015

Wearables for Social Good

Extra
Unicef aims to accelerate the development of wearables for emerging markets

International children's charity Unicef has teamed up with global design agency Frog Design and British software company ARM to launch a design challenge to create a wearable for social good.

The Wearables for Good challenge was launched at US media brand Quartz's The Next Billion conference in London last week, and is part of a wider partnership between ARM and Unicef to accelerate the development of wearables for emerging markets.

The six-month competition aims to take advantage of the falling costs of hardware to develop a wearable that addresses maternal and child-health needs in emerging economies, according to Blair Palmer, innovation lab lead for Unicef.

"What if we had a way to passively collect data from women who are pregnant to monitor their nutrition, so we could ensure a healthy birth weight for children worldwide? Those are the kinds of ideas we are looking for," she said at the conference.

The competition handbook outlines four focus areas for entrants: alert and response; diagnosis, treatment and referral; behaviour change; and data collection and insight. These four categories could cover scenarios ranging from disaster relief to encouraging better personal hygiene.

Applications are open until August 4 2015, with two winners to be announced in autumn 2015. The winners will receive $15,000 of funding and three months of mentoring from ARM and Frog to help develop the ideas to prototype stage.

Look out for further coverage of Quartz: The Next Billion, coming soon to Stylus. In the meantime, discover more about design for social good by reading Social Innovation and Outreach: Mobile Solutions.

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