This new water-resistant bangle from Bangladesh is more than a fashion statement — it’s a smart bracelet aimed to assist pregnant women with prenatal care.
The Carbon Monoxide Exposure Limiter (COEL) was beautifully designed to look as though it is simply another bangle to add to the collection already worn by many women in Asia. However, this unique piece of jewelry, designed with the assistance of the same rural woman who would benefit from its use, could save lives!
Designed with a sensor inside, The COEL bracelet alarms if it detects high levels of carbon monoxide. The microprocessor and speaker work together to alert mom, in her native language, to open a window or to move to a place with fresh air.
In addition to this life-saving technology, the bangle is also programmed to deliver two pregnancy related wellness messages a week. These messages cover an array of topics such as what types of food to eat, when to see a doctor, and how to prepare for birth.
As the bracelet runs on a 10-month battery and does not require Internet connectivity, it can be individualized for each woman’s pregnancy.
In industrialized countries, the latest trends in pregnancy gadgets are must-haves for many new moms. From kick-counters to portable heartbeat monitors, reassurance is just a quick Amazon-click away. These technological advantages of neonatal monitoring are often not available to women in the developing world.
The primary mission of Grameen Intel Social Business (GISB) is to creatively utilize technology to help improve the lives of those living in impoverished areas. With this purpose in mind, GISB developed the COEL.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 830 women die each day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, with a majority of those women living in rural, poor communities. Equally concerning is the risk that women, particularly those residing in Southeast Asia, face as a result of indoor air pollution.
A recent article written by National Geographic revealed the devastating effects that indoor cooking can have on women. According to Kirk Smith, professor of global environmental health at the University of California at Berkeley, “Having an open fire in your kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.”
Unfortunately, this is the norm for many women in this area. Fume and smoke exposure can have significant detrimental effects for both mom and baby. This new smart bangle was designed to help alleviate that problem.
According to The Independent, the bangle is in its final phases of development and will be launched commercially later this year. While certain to enhance the quality of care for women, some questions remain. 45% of people in Bangladesh live below the poverty line with an average monthly wage of $60.
Estimated to be sold for approximately $12, access to the smart bracelet may prove to be an obstacle for women. Additionally, while technology can certainly be helpful, it is not a substitute for quality hands-on care.
Regardless, the COEL is a step in the right direction for these moms and babies!