A wearable sensor kit for pregnant women to minimize the risk of maternal death.

What is it?

SUPA powered MATERNITY is a wearable sensor kit for pregnant women to minimize the risk of maternal death. It is comprised of a fabric-based sensor patch integrated in a bra-like harness that measures a mother’s vital signs in labor and during birth, a pod that holds the electronics with processing and storage capabilities, a mobile APP and a cloud that stores the relevant data. SUPA powered MATERNITY provides a warning signal for the mother in labor if a problem is detected and automatically sends the vital signs to the clinic to prepare for the arrival of the women or to provide advice. The clinics in many instances are hours away. Maternal death kills 39 out of 1,000 women in Ethiopia. A similar kit measures a newborn’s vital signs during the first 72 critical hours after birth to provide critical health data to the clinic and automatically registers the baby.

It is a data gathering tool. The sensor patch is washable and connected to a rugged piece of electronics. The sensor patch can be mass-produced, the electronics pod can be assembled locally, smart phones can be re-purposed. The sensors and the optimized electronics (pod) need little power and can be easily recharged by kinetic or solar-based energy. The mobile phone is a smart phone using either Android or iOS. The kit is stored in the villages and at the clinics. Because it is re-useable only the initial purchase and the maintenance have a cost associated. Any smart phone can be used and the software is scale-able. The sensor belt and electronics can easily be scaled up.

How is it used?

The fabric patch is integrated into a comfortable well designed bra-like harness. The electronics pod is connected to the harness. It is worn by the mother directly on the body during labor and birth. After birth it is collected and used by the next mother. The size of the harness is modular. The fabric patch + electronics pod are worn by the newborn during the first 72 hours after birth. It is integrated into a modular harness and is worn directly on the body. After 72 hours it is collected and can be worn by the next newborn. The data of multiple harnesses can be collected in parallel with a single smart phone.

What technologies does it incorporate?

The sensors are fabric-based electrodes that can capture vital signs from the pregnant women and newborns to receive pulse, heart rate, and ECG. Pulse oximetry, which measures the blood oxygen level is added to the fabric patch. The data is processed in the electronics pod and sent via the electronics pod (low power Bluetooth) to a smart phone. The electronics pod includes a processor, a transmission chip (low power Bluetooth), and storage capabilities. Blood pressure for the pregnant women can be measured with a wireless pressure wrist monitor and also sent via Bluetooth to the smart phone. The smart phone APP captures the various data and sends it to the relevant stakeholders. A LED light on the harness indicates a medical emergency.

How does it work?

Pregnant women put on SUPA powered MATERNITY at the onset of labor and wear it throughout giving birth. The SoftSpot monitors and captures all necessary vital signs and either notifies via a LED that there is a problem to the pregnant women or the attendant to either immediately travel to the next clinic or to receive instructions for the attendant. The clinic receives all necessary information to prepare for the women’s arrival and / or can work with the attendant in case the clinic is too far away. All information is captured in a SUPA powered MATERNITY cloud. Newborns wear the SUPA powered MATERNITY within the first 72 hours after birth to monitor the vital signs and to automatically register them in the birth registrar.

Who uses it?

Pregnant women and babies wear it.

The attendants and the nurses/doctors in the health care clinics have access to the vital signs of the mothers and newborns.
NGOs, and public health care agencies, and the Ministry of Health to have access to the data.

Why does it help?

It reduces maternal death by providing warning signs to the pregnant women and the traditional birth attendants (used by many women in rural areas due to the expense of a clinic). The pregnant women can make it to the clinics in time and the clinics can prepare in advance (i.e. find a doctor or nurse that can help). Additionally traditional birth attendants can be trained to understand the vital signs via a simple interface. By monitoring newborns potentially life threatening complications can be examined, babies are registered, and potential (disease) patterns can be correlated.


Team's Location


Team's Occupation


Team Members

Sabine Seymour / SUPASPOT INC, Karl Seiringer, Daniel Goddemeyer, Xuedi Chen, Lauren Moseley

Focus Area(s)

Data Collection/Data Insight

UNICEF Pillar(s)


These pages have been pulled directly from applications submitted to the Wearables for Good Challenge in 2015. They represent the work of the individual teams and have subsequently not been edited.


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