Researchers have developed a high-tech bangle that notifies women of toxic fumes, in hopes of boosting maternal health in South Asia.
The colourful, lightweight bangle works by issuing audio tips to help expectant mothers avoid harmful substances.
As remote communities are receiving more services than ever, the bangle sends information directly to mothers – to – be and is built to withstand the rigors of village life.
Coel, or carbon monoxide exposure limiter, was created by Grameen Intel Social Business Ltd., a joint venture of Intel Corporation, and Bangladesh non-profit Grameen Trust.
The bangle is designed to sound and alarm if high levels of carbon monoxide fumes are generated when cooking with firewood, charcoal or dung, warning the wearer to move away.
Chief operating officer at Grameen Intel Social Business, Pavel Hoq, who pioneered the new device, said: “In rural areas, mobile connectivity and mobile access for women – is an issue, as phones are controlled by men.
“While we had also developed mobile apps for maternal health, we realized a wearable device solely for women, something she would likely wear all the time, would be better to connect with women in rural areas.”
The bangle includes a long-lasting battery that does not require charging throughout the duration of a pregnancy and can work without a sufficient internet connection.
The smart accessory is water-resistant, due to its durable plastic design and is made to blend in with decorative bangles usually worn by South Asian married women,
Coel, which is designed to withstand the rough and tumble of daily chores, delivers two wellness messages a week in the local language, including what to eat and when to see the doctor.
Every day, about 830 women worldwide die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications, according to the World Health Organization, with nearly a third of these taking place in South Asia.
Maternal mortality is higher among women living in rural areas and poorer communities, where access to healthcare is often forbidden or deficient due to a lack of female medics and facilities.
In India, where Coel has been tested in amongst the poorest states in the country, maternal and neonatal deaths are nearly 10 times higher.
“Easy access to knowledge is crucial in these countries, particularly for first-time mothers.” Said Hoq
“We want this device to be a tool of empowerment for women.”