#WearablesForGood design challenge set by UNICEF, ARM and frog attracts 250 entries from 46 countries across the world

Sept. 14 2015 – New wearable technologies, including a malaria alert bracelet for infants, a water purification band, and an ear-worn pneumonia monitor, are among the 10 ideas selected for the final stage of the Wearables for Good design challenge. Launched in May 2015 by partners Unicef, ARM and frog, the objective was to create the most globally inclusive design competition ever. Less than three months later, teams and individuals from 46 countries, covering six continents, had entered with 250 design ideas submitted to the judges.

The 10 shortlisted teams consist of innovative designers, engineers and technologists who have all created remarkable new wearable and sensor-based devices capable of helping the world’s most vulnerable people. This is a departure from the current mainstream wearables market, which is mainly focused on lifestyle devices for the developed world. The Wearables for Good design challenge expands that focus, showing how wearables can save lives by tackling maternal and child health issues in the most difficult physical and energy-constrained environments. 

The finalists’ design ideas address issues including health, the availability of potable water, sanitation and hygiene, and child protection. The teams will now move into the next phase of the competition where they will attempt to turn their concepts into working prototypes.

The completed projects will be submitted in October, with the two winners announced in November at a tech event in Helsinki, Finland and ARM TechCon (Santa Clara, US). The winners will each receive a prize of $15,000, along with incubation and mentoring from UNICEF, ARM and frog.

The finalists are:

  • CommunicAID, U.S: a bracelet that tracks medication treatment
  • Droplet, U.S: a wrist-worn wearable water purification device
  • Guard Band, Vietnam: a wristband that helps protect children from abuse
  • Khushi Baby, India and U.S: a necklace-type wearable to track child immunization in the first two years of life
  • Raksh, India: a device worn in the ear to track a child’s respiration rate, heart rate, body temperature and relative breath humidity designed by a team of university students
  • Soapen, India and U.S.: an interactive crayon-like device that encourages hand washing among young children
  • Telescrypts, East Africa and U.S: a wearable device to take patients’ vitals and send the data to health care workers
  • TermoTell, Nigeria and U.S: a bracelet used to monitor and analyze a child’s temperature in real-time in order to save the lives of children at risk of malaria
  • Totem Open Health Patch, Netherlands: a small sensor-based device that is part of a wider Totem Open Health system for wearable health technology
  • WAAA!, U.K.: A sensor-based neonatal health surveillance tool.

Erica Kochi, co-lead and co-founder of Unicef Innovation said: "The ideas from the 10 finalists demonstrate how wearable technology can be applied in resource-constrained environments, creating viable business opportunities for the technology sector in developing markets. We’re excited to review the finalists’ refined ideas over the coming months to pick two that have the potential to improve the lives of women and children at a national or global scale."

Simon Segars, CEO, ARM said: “We launched a technology competition and we have ended up with 10 ideas that could all save the lives of millions of vulnerable children. It shows there is a wealth of untapped expertise and ideas out there for new wearable devices that can fulfil a wholly different purpose than is associated with them now.” 

Denise Gershbein, Executive Creative Director, frog said: “As we kick off this next phase of the challenge, our goal is to not only help develop impactful design solutions, but to catalyze a conversation around the actual definition of wearables and the idea of social impact. Wearables are no longer just devices we wear on our bodies to measure our heart rate or count our steps. What really makes them ‘tick’ is when they are embedded within the context of entire networks, generating significant sustainable social impact. We are excited to help the 10 finalists navigate this challenge and, in turn, rally the global community to explore greater use case potential for wearables and sensor technology.”

During this next stage of the challenge the finalists will receive coaching from a number of experts within the field to help them turn their design ideas into working prototypes.


About the finalists: Please visit www.wearablesforgood.com/finalists for profiles on each of the finalists. 


Vicky Gashe, Senior Media & Communications Manager, Unicef UK // vickyg@unicef.org.uk // + 44 20 7375 6120/ +44 7785 468987   

Dana Zucker, Communications Lead: Unicef Innovation // dzucker@unicef.org // +1 973 462 3855                                            

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media // kdonovan@unicef.org // + 1 212 326 7452/+ 1 917 378 2128   

Andy Winstanley, Director of Corporate PR, ARM // andy.winstanley@arm.com // +44 1223 405244/ +44 7788 249712                     

Kyra Cyphers, Communications contact: frog // Kcyphers@kwittken.com // +646 747 7165

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk

Unicef Innovation is an interdisciplinary team of individuals around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen Unicef's work. We build and scale innovations that improve children’s lives around the world. For more information about Uncief'swork in innovation, visit: www.unicef.org/innovation and www.unicefstories.org. Follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/unicefinnovate).

About ARM

ARM (LSE: ARM, NASDAQ: ARMH.US) is at the heart of the world's most advanced digital products. Our technology enables the creation of new markets and transformation of industries and society. We design scalable, energy-efficient processors and related technologies to deliver the intelligence in applications ranging from sensors to servers, including smartphones, tablets, enterprise infrastructure and the Internet of Things.

Our innovative technology is licensed by ARM Partners who have shipped more than 60 billion System on Chip (SoCs) containing our intellectual property since the company began in 1990. Together with our Connected Community, we are breaking down barriers to innovation for developers, designers and engineers, ensuring a fast, reliable route to market for leading electronics companies. Learn more and join the conversation at http://community.arm.com

About frog

frog is a global design and strategy firm. We transform businesses at scale by creating systems of brand, product and service that deliver a distinctly better experience. We strive to touch hearts and move markets. Our passion is to transform ideas into realities. We partner with clients to anticipate the future, evolve organizations and advance the human experience. San Francisco . Seattle . Austin . New York . Boston . London . Amsterdam . Milan . Munich . Singapore . Shanghai www.frogdesign.com