OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

The 'Panchayudha' baby monitor

An attempt to transform a traditional gold pendent worn by babies in Sri Lanka into a real child heath monitoring device

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
34 12

Written by

In no more than 3 sentences, please tell us who your idea is designed for and how it reimagines the new life experience.

The idea is designed for the parents and those who care for the health of babies and children. With the lack of resources and the availability of doctors and midwives in rural areas it is really hard to keep track of the health condition of a new born who is having some sickness. Therefore this newly designed 'panchayudha' smart pendent will monitor the child's health and predict the illnesses and alert the parents and care providers so that they can attend the matters as soon as possible.

[Updated on 05.11.2017 - The prototype]

Problem

A sick baby can be the biggest problem that a parent would face. The most precious treasure of any parent is their child and they would do absolutely anything to safeguard their child. Late night cries, regular medical checkups, emergency hospital visits, unexpected high fever in the middle of the night where the nearest hospital is 50km away, spending a fortune on simple medical check ups... Sounds like a nightmare to anyone who care for the new born. Welcome to the day to day life of Sri Lankan parents living in rural areas who are taking care of a sick child.

Arriving at a solution

If there's a way to identify these emergency situations of the baby, before it happens, it can be a relief for the parents because then they can take precautions to avoid any damage happening to the baby.  So how do we keep track of the baby's health and warn the parents if there's something wrong and predict any illness that can occur? What about a wearable for babies that tracks and monitors their health?

The Challenge

When monitoring a baby's health, it is not rocket science to think about a wearable health tracker for babies. You may design a baby fitbit, or a health tracking sock (babies in rural areas of South Asia do not wear socks or caps due to the heat), but will the traditional parents be brave enough to make that decision to attach a wearable electronic device to their child to track the child's health? That is where the problem lies. People are naturally resistant to new things. That is why the wearable that you design should go in line with the beliefs of the parents and the society so that it would be accepted by all.


Inspiration

In South Asia, specially in Sri Lanka, there is a belief that a special gold pendent called 'panchayudha' that babies wear around their neck keeps the babies safe from everything. Similar to Christians wearing a silver cross, the traditional Sri Lankans also make the babies wear a gold pendant embossed with the marks of the ‘Panchayudha’ or the five fold warfare armaments. 

The five armaments are:

  • The sword
  • Bow and arrow
  • The fiery disc known as ‘Chakraudha’
  • The conchshell
  • The ‘thrishoola’ (trident-three speared dagger with a long handle)


(refer the attached image)

feedback

Tested with a mother of a 2 year old who actually attached a pendent to her child:

She said,

"This looks cute. It can really alert me if my baby is sick? That sounds great! I would definitely try this if you can assure me that it's 100% safe for my baby"



At what stage is your idea?

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Build a prototype of the device and build a fake app. Let parents attach it to the child and we will send alerts to the parents' and doctors' mobile phone. Let's see whether they like it or not.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I come from a South Asian context and it is hard for me to look at the same problem from a different perspective from a different context. This is where the community can support me to look at the problem in different angles. May be this problem is already solved in a different region in the world in a smarter way. I would like to know about it.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am currently a Senior Business Analyst who designs software solutions for healthcare. I work at a software company that creates EHR and other software related to healthcare in order to improve the life of patients and healthcare providers.

This idea emerged from...

  • An Individual

Are you an expecting, new, or experienced mom?

  • no

Are you a healthcare practitioner?

  • no

Are you a current employee of UCB Pharmaceuticals or Sutter Health?

  • no

How would you describe this idea (in 2-3 sentences) while in an elevator with someone?

A solution that encourages the parents to confidently use technology to monitor and track the health condition of their sick baby by relating the technology to a cultural belief that they all are aware of.

What is the specific problem your idea is trying to solve? 1 sentence.

Parents in rural areas being less confident about using technology to take care of their sick baby.

How has your idea improved or evolved throughout the Refinement Phase?

I had a mentoring session with Natalia Tsymbalenko, Digital Solutions Consultant at Eastbanc Technologies and with her advice I started investigation on the technical feasibility. I got inspired by the existing solutions and I listed down the sensors that can be used to show that this idea is technically feasible. I wanted to talk with a doctor about this solution so I talked to a few doctors who are friends of mine. They asked me to make sure that the temperature and the heart rate can be captured accurately, otherwise it will trigger false alarms for the parents and they will not be happy about it. I'm still working on it. I wanted to make it look like a day to day wearable of a baby without making it look like another tech gadget. In order to do that I added petals to the device to make it look like a flower and without using a rubber band I let the parents tie it and add a knot so that will give them a sense of caring and responsibility and safety. I went with the idea of making it an ankle band instead of a wrist band because the babies always try to put everything within their reach in their mouth. But I need to check whether accurate information can be captured from the ankle (Big Question) I tested the acceptability of the solution with a mother of a 2 year old, She said, "This looks cute. It can really alert me if my baby is sick? That sounds great! I would definitely try this if you can assure me that it's 100% safe for my baby"

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

I'm going to build a prototype of this solution and introduce it to parents of new born from rural areas who are having a child that needs continuous monitoring and see how my solution would change their lives (or not).

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Try to find an investor who would invest in this solution so I can produce it and implement it in order to help parents and babies in need.

How is your idea different or unique from what is currently on the market?

There are many baby health monitoring devices available in the market. Socks, t shirts, napkins, etc. But do South Asian babies wear socks? t shirts? napkins? Mostly not! One reason is the heat. The other main reason is that parents are afraid to use technology when it comes to taking care of babies as they find it alien and harmful. My attempt is to break this barrier and bring technology closer to them.

34 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Ganyanjith!

The refinement phase closes on Nov 5 at 3:00pm PST. Please reach out to me if you have any questions at all.

I am tagging Maninder Manihani in case they have some feedback to share.

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Hi Kate Rushton 
I'm doing some user tests. I will try my best to update the post with the results tonight. Thanks for supporting me through out this challenge. Really appreciated.

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Hi Maninder Manihani , What is your opinion about this solution?

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Hi Kate Rushton ,

Thanks for the very useful kick off call.

In my idea, I am planning to test the following aspects:

1. Will the parents in South Asia accept to attach an electronic device to their sick baby? And would relating an electronic device to a traditional cultural object be successful in changing the mind set of these parents to get the help of technology to solve their day to day problems?

2. Is this idea technically feasible? To monitor the heart rate and body temperature, the device needs to touch the skin (or a good vein) of the baby. Should we try to design the device as an ankle band or a necklace? Will it make the baby feel uncomfortable? (babies in South Asia do not wear socks or caps when staying home).

I need to figure out these things and it would be great if I could get in touch with a technology expert, a healthcare expert and a social researcher. I tried to book a mentorship session with a few mentors and everyone seems to be unavailable. Is there any way that you could help with this?

Thanks!

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

the link opened a game. this is spam!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

HI Gayanjith,

I am going to block this user.

Were you able to organise a session with a mentor?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Gayanjith,

Congratulations on making it to the refinement phase!

Please tag me here with questions using '@' followed by my name (Kate Rushton).

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Thank you Kate Rushton . Everyone's support is much appreciated. I'm going to focus on implementing the solution and testing it with real users now.

Photo of Kavindu Jayawardana
Team

Hi Gayanjith Premalal 

Congratulations on your idea. This idea is actually amazing!!
But I have few concerns on the technology you are using here. It is true that Bluetooth is less harmful for babies. But it is bit difficult to convince the rural people with that because they usually have the mind set that technologies like Bluetooth is harmful for babies. So if you can think of another way to communicate between the devices it would be great. Apart from that, there are many similar devices that capture the temperature of the child and communicate with other devices. So I think you should differentiate the value proposition in this device properly in order to market your device when it is launched. I personally like your idea as you have addressed a very interesting aspect of Sri Lankan culture because a "panchayuda" pendant is a common thing that you can see in a newly born baby

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Yes Kavindu Jayawardana I'm thinking of focusing on the babies with special needs or who are under going a tough health issue so the parents will be ready to take the 'risk' with the technology. Having the cultural value of 'Panchayudha' is the differentiation between this device and the other available health tracking devices.

Photo of Rasal Lia
Team

Yes, we have many things to learn from devas. But you pointed well the lack of braveness - yes, parents may fear to set electronic device with a sound healthy baby's body. Men-made electronic devices may not be accepted as a good virtue. It's a matter of research how long health science will permit an electronic device with or beside babies. But it would be a great job if your idea is successfullly implemented.
Thank you

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/new-life/feedback/postpartum-care-for-the-babies

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

If the parents are not ready to accept an electronic solution that the child will be exposed to, then we can think about targeting the babies who are sick.. Parents might want to take a risk then.

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Kate Rushton , Should I edit the post with latest findings or is it good enough to keep everything as comments?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Gayanjith!

I would recommend updating your submission with anything relevant in the comments section. This is so that people who are short on time can quickly understand your idea without having to look in the comments section.

Photo of Camila
Team

WOW! This sounds amazing if it can reach fruition.

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Thanks Camila ,
I am currently trying to figure out ways to solve the same problem by using a method that does not emit radiations which are not harmful for the child. Thinking of using a camera with IR to monitor and track the health condition/vital signs of the baby as a substitution for the wearable. What are your thoughts on it? Or is there anyway to produce the device in a way that it does not emit any harmful radiations?

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Camila and thanks for your enthusiasm! I saw you had experience in poverty elimination and global development. Are you aware of similar devices? Or can you think of contexts in Bogota where this would also be relevant?

I know in many of the Central American countries I have worked in, there are bracelets babies wear to protect them--that are similar to the pendant. Is this something that exists in Colombia as well?

Love to hear your thoughts and feedback on Gayanjith Premalal 's Idea!

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Hi Lauren Ito , Christel Tardif , Camila , Kate Rushton ,

I am thinking of eliminating the communication between the pendent and the smartphone. I'm really concerned about the radiation that will be emitted when the pendent communicates with the smartphone since it can be harmful for the baby.

What if we do not try to eliminate the midwife visiting the houses to check on the child. Actually parents like it when the midwife arrives because then they feel that taking care of the child is a social responsibility and they are not alone. So what if we give the midwife a pendent scanner (or a plug in device) where the midwife can extract and store all the information from the pendent and then transmit those information to a doctor's computer? Anyway the midwives are not working with the clinical parameters and those information are really important for doctors.

Any ideas or feedback on that?

Photo of Christel Tardif
Team

Hello Gayanjith quick reaction before I think more about it: maybe you could use low radiation emission communication protocole like Bluetooth and probably many more?

Photo of Christel Tardif
Team

Hello Gayanjith Premalal further thoughts: your device will emit only in certain conditions => i.e. rarely. If you combine it with bluetooth like communication protocole (i.e. low emission protocole), I don't think this will be a problem.
Another option is to put the pendant on baby ankle. I think this is something people do a lot in India?

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Great! Thanks a lot Christel Tardif ! Since the emission is not going to be a problem I can proceed with the prototype then. And I love the ankle idea too. I saw that there's a health tracking sock created for babies with illnesses. I think my design can break the mental barrier that the parents have about electronic wearables for babies as well.

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Gayanjith Premalal I'm excited by the human-centered design approach of this Idea! In what ways do you think he core concept of this Idea can address our user personas (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9GhoNtMknwLbTAyZUJFczlDZ0U/view) for this specific challenge?

What would be next steps in developing a prototype? Do you have any existing barriers to developing a prototype? Sharing these barriers with the OpenIDEO community may help individuals understand where they might join the conversation and provide feedback?

Excited to learn more!

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Hi Lauren Ito 

The concept of this idea is addressing a couple of personas.

The Healthcare Provider - Midwives are spending a huge amount of time going door to door to monitor the health of the new born. And doctors find it difficult to keep track of population health. This concept will help the midwives to track the health of the babies remotely and the doctors to pre-plan the care as well.

The Under Resourced Mom - The cost of child healthcare is very high. Even to do a small check up, the mothers in rural areas will have to travel a long way to hospitals by public transport. These costs can be reduced or cut off by implementing this concept.

I am working on developing a working prototype of this concept. I am building a vertical prototype as well as a horizontal prototype. To test the technical feasibility, I am creating the device with the sensors and emitters, but it will be bigger than the real device. Therefore for the user testing I am creating a real size dummy device as well.

I have already tested the concept by communicating the idea to a several mothers and they were concerned about the adverse effects of the device since it emits radiations to communicate with the smartphone and they are reluctant to keep a device that emits radiations close to their babies. This is a big concern that we need to overcome. Otherwise this solution might fail.

Another issue with this concept is that in order to capture the clinical parameters, the sensors should touch the baby's body well and the accuracy is higher if it touches a good vein. With the baby lying on the bed, moving around, throwing hands it will be a problem that needs to be addressed.

Hoping to refine my design in order to cater to all these problems soon. Currently I'm thinking of the ways to capture these clinical parameters without having to get in contact with the baby.

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Gayanjith Premalal thank you so much for your responses!

I'm also curious about how this Idea and core technology might translate into other contexts and communities! Looking forward to learning more! Also tagging in community extraordinaire, Christel Tardif to hear her thoughts and questions on additional considerations!

Photo of Christel Tardif
Team

Thanks for tagging me here Lauren Ito and congratulation for your idea Gayanjith Premalal your approach is brilliant and coming from a user centered research, the idea is excellent!
My considerations are around the data transmission mainly: I suppose the device will be used in disadvantaged area, how can we be sure there will be enough bandwidth or network to transmit the data when needed? When the baby is sleeping, the pendent might not be close enough to the baby to feel heart beat for example (and what about temperature then)?

Bouncing on Lauren's curiosity about translating this into other contexts and communities, I have some crazy ideas: could the pendent be used to detect fall or even better imbalance? (in those cases, the pendent will not be touching the skin for some time or repeatedly) from there many other applications could be imagined...

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Hi, Thanks for feedback and that was very helpful and a good eye opener.

The network is still an unanswered question. May be we will have to change the business model of it as you have mentioned. I'm fascinated by your idea of fall/imbalance detection. Now I'm thinking of different uses of the device that can help the maternity experience. Awesome! and Thank you!

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

What about a camera with IR sensor to detect the readings from the pendent or directly from the baby? What do you think about that? I'm really concerned about the radiation that will be emitted when the pendent communicates with the smartphone since it can be harmful for the baby. Trying to eliminate the radiations here. Please post your ideas to solve it.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

 Hi Gayanjith!

Thank you for all your ideas in the challenge.

I noticed this - 'To make this solution reach the rural areas, it will be essential to provide the smart phone and the device, free of charge to the families' - are there other alternatives to keep costs down?

I am tagging a few people here who might be able to give you feedback - Sathyan Velumani Hari Krishna Nibanupudi also Lauren Ito 

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Well, the cost can be reduced if we can use a hub that connects all the tracking devices without having to connect the device to the smart phone.

But in a research it was found that smartphones are used, even in the rural areas in Sri Lanka. Actually the usage of phones in Sri Lanka is double the population of the country. Therefore the cost of the tracking device and the charger is the only cost that the providers will have to bear. But considering child birth as a social responsibility, this is not a huge cost.

Photo of Christel Tardif
Team

Gayanjith Premalal  Regarding the business model, maybe you can check out and get some inspiration from this project http://sunna-moon.com it's in french but I guess you can get the essence. It's a combinaison of lighting system and mobile for communities in Africa who don't have access to electricity.

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Nice. This would be helpful for my project as well :)

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Gayanjith Premalal thank you for sharing your Idea on the New Life Challenge. Congratulations on being today's featured contribution!

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Thank you OpenIDEO . I am creating a working prototype of this idea. I will share it with you all.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Gayanjith Premalal 

Great to have you continuing to engage in the Ideas Phase of this Challenge! We notice your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have it included on the challenge. If you decide you'd like it included, you can publish it by hitting the Publish Entry up there at the top of your post. Or update it first by hitting the Edit Contribution button. Looking forward to seeing more of you on conversations across this challenge.