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May 21, 2015

Contest Aims to Harness Digital Sensing to Aid Poor

Unicef and ARM, a British firm that makes widely used microprocessors for smartphones and tablets, are leading a new initiative to develop high-tech personal devices that could improve health and education for poor people around the world, The New York Times writes.

Wearables for Good will launch with a competition to attract proposals, with two winners chosen this fall each getting $15,000 and assistance from established tech companies to turn their ideas into products.

The project's long-term aim is to spark broader efforts to harness increasing low-cost sensing and data technology to meet the needs of mothers and children in developing countries. Erica Kochi of Unicef Innovation, which pursues tech efforts that serve the United Nations children's agency's goals, said one idea could be a monitor that measures breathing rates and could thus detect early signs of pneumonia, a leading cause of death for children under 5.