Pratyusha Pareddy and Manoj Sanker of the Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship in collaboration with NemoCare Wellness in India will develop a small, battery-operated wearable device for newborns that continuously monitors vital signs in premature babies to alert health workers when a life-threating situation might occur, and provides vibration to stimulate breathing. Premature babies are susceptible to a variety of potentially fatal conditions such as apnea (suspension of breathing) and hypothermia. The lack of sophisticated monitors for these conditions in resource-poor settings means that nurses often have to continually check up to 40 babies, which makes timely detection very challenging. They will design and build a prototype made of soft fabric to fit snugly on the child's foot, and incorporate a photoplethysmography sensor, which measures rate of blood flow, and a thermistor to measure temperature, as well as an audio-visual alarm. A platform will also be developed for wirelessly connecting multiple devices to a hub installed at the nurses' station, which is also fitted with an alarm. They will compare their prototype with currently used monitoring devices in the laboratory, and perform a small-scale field trial to get feedback from health workers and mothers.
More information about Wearables and Technology for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Behavior Change (Round 19)