Forget The Fitbit: Can Wearables Be Designed For The Developing World?
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
When we think of wearable technology today, we think of the Fitbits or the Apple Watch. But to many people, tracking our steps or sleep in unprecedented detail or getting a notification slightly faster is interesting but ultimately not quite useful enough. The quantified self, in the context of people who have access to any technology they want, can be inherently self-absorbed.
Imagine a different use case: An impoverished woman in rural Africa, pregnant with her first child and many miles away from medical care. Here, a wearable that helps her track her pregnancy and let her know if she needs to get to a doctor could mean life or death for her unborn child.
That’s one of the uses of wearables and sensor technology anticipated by UNICEF in a new partnership that launches the “Wearables For Good” design challenge, a six-month prize competition that aims to take advantage of the dropping cost of chips, sensors, and devices to benefit the people who may need them the most.