[Updated on 05.11.2017 - The prototype]
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?
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.
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)
Tested with a mother of a 2 year old who actually attached a pendent to her child:
"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"