A personal digital medical assistant.

What is it?

BabyShell is a first product of a custom hardware for development platform we have created using an ATmega chip.

BabyShell is a personal digital medical assistant called BabyShell. The device is powered by a rechargeable battery and solar cells, does not need gsm network coverage neither electricity source/plug/charger to function. It is specially crafted for the last mile deployment in rural and remote areas or marginalised peri-urban areas.

The device has a digital thermometer for measuring body temperature and a digital watch.

How is it used?

BabyShell can be worn or carried in bag or pockets. BabyShell can also be shared with other people serving up to 10 mothers and 50 kids. As for now BabyShell can register 10 pregnancies (at same time) and up to 50 newborn, we think that is a good fit for a community health volunteer for example or simply for a woman that decides to support friends and acquaintances in her community.

Users can register their pregnancy and BabyShell will tell them their expected delivery date. Users can use BabyShell for measuring body temperature, for running a self-diagnosis to their 0 to 5 years old children, read tips and information about nutrition, MHN, SRHR and HIV/AIDS.
Here below a short user story.

Beauty is 20 years old and lives in rural Malawi, she has been given a BabyShell by a Community Health Worker since 2 months now, since she had already 1 children of 2 years old. Beauty had already registered her child Precious during the training she received in how to use BabyShell. Now she is pregnant again. She takes the BabyShell and register her new pregnancy. Beauty enters the last date of her menstrual period and BabyShell tells her that she is at week 6 will deliver in 36 weeks from now. From that week on, BabyShell wakes up regularly and give 1 to 3 tips weekly to Beauty about nutrition, her conditions, what to expect, fetus development, etc. As well BayShell reminds Beauty about the importance of attending the 4 Ante Natal Visits at the mobile clinic.

Beauty can also query the BabyShell on demand, she can navigate through the content about pregnancy week by week, nutrition, MNH, SRHR and HIV/AIDS.
One day while she is using BabyShell to read a story to Precious before putting him to sleep, she noticed that his son does not feel well, he had again lost liquids with his feces for 2 days now about 4 times. Beauty uses the BabyShell to measure his body temperature. The temperature is little high (38 C), Beauty runs a self diagnosis to better understand what is going on and be able to take action. BabyShell response is that Precious has diarrhea and needs a Oral Re-hydration Solution (ORS). BabyShell suggest to Beauty to take the kids to the nearest health facility in her area and how to prepare a ORS with local available ingredients.Beauty decides to follow BabyShell instructions and give Precious the ORS, she boils some water and adds to it a bit of salt and sugar. The next day in the morning, BabyShell reminds Beauty of Precious conditions, she feels she needs to take action, since she is pregnant she does not feel to walk 11 Km to reach the health center near by, the mobile clinic will come in about 5 days in the village next to her at about 3 km. She decides to source for transportation and go to the health center, there she knows she could also get new content (children stories, FAQs, etc. – see below) on her BabyShell.

What technologies does it incorporate?

We have a digital thermometer for body temperature. We use USB connection for data transfer. In our road map we plan to add audioplayer and wifi module.

We capture usage data and other data like: outcomes and number of self-diagnosis, number of pregnancies, number of registered new born and date, number of deleted newborn (we ask the reason for deletion: mistake or death) getting an insight on newborn deaths.

How does it work?

BabyShell works fully on solar power with a solar cells and a rechargeable battery to ensure device can be used in the dark as well. If used in the light the devices is energy auto sufficient it won’t consume extra energy. We have calculated that the device can be used 5 years long, 5 min a day if never exposed / charged charged on the sun. If battery is discharged it takes 3 to 4 hours of sunlight to get a full charge. No matter what, the device will simply work in the sunlight.
BabyShell mounts an integrated Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) resistor to measure body temperature.
BabyShell can guide the user through the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) decision tree / flow chart, assisting the user in understanding the and recognizing symptoms in time.
BabyShell has a Real Time Clock (RTC) to keep track of time, because of that can be used as digital watch as well can prompt reminders to the user.
BabyShell can calculate the expected delivery date of a pregnancy, and send reminders and weekly tips accordingly. For that it takes the date of last menstrual period and calculates the current week, pushing the content to the user accordingly.
BabyShell can function as a small digital library with relevant content about pregnancy, newborn development, nutrition, SRHR and MNH.
BabySehll has a LCD screen and 5 buttons: Home, Up, Down, Back and Enter to enable the user to input data, navigate through the content and operate the functionality.
BabyShell work either individually (one to one) or in community settings up to 10 pregnancies and 50 children per device.
BabyShell software and content can be update through Arduino IDE and USB connection as for now. Software is written using the C and C++ programming languages.

Who uses it?

It is normally used by the person who wears it. This person can be a woman or a community health worker/volunteer. The data captured in BabyShell can also be accessed by health facility and/or the organizations deploying it. We capture usage data and other data like: outcomes and number of self-diagnosis, number of pregnancies, number of registered new born and date, number of deleted newborn (we ask the reason for deletion: mistake or death) getting an insight on newborn deaths.

Why does it help?

BabyShell comes with the following features to provide a solution to the above mentioned needs and challenges:

User can register 10 pregnancy (at the same time) and up to 50 newborns.

User will be reminded of the 4 ANC visits during pregnancy as well for each new born registered the device will remind the user about the needed vaccinations up to five years old.

Pregnancy calendar and tips (Nutrition, SRHR)
Once the user registers the pregnancy, the device will calculate the expected delivery date and will tell the user the current week of the pregnancy. From that moment the device will wake up weekly (even if apparently switch off) and give useful tips about pregnancy during that specific week (we are now having a mix between health, nutrition, self-awareness and mental wellness, and SRHR; this content needs to be refined, customized and translated for specific local deployments)

Self-diagnosis based on IMCI
The device comes with the WHO IMCI decision tree loaded (we have now 4 illness completed: diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia and ear infection)
The idea is to make this decision tree accessible to the user and empower her to take better, quicker and in-formed decisions about how to take prompt action on a symptom.
In case of diarrhea the device will suggest to the user how to prepare an ORS solution boiling water.
The device has a digital temperature sensor to enable users to measure body temperature and run the self-diagnosis properly.

User can read content on demand accessing the library and the following menu:
FAQs Pregnancy
FAQs Newborn
Children Stories
Pregnancy week by week
Newborn development
SRHR – (contains HIV/AIDS)

Docking station
We provide a docking station for translating BabyShell software and the content of the reminders, tips and information stored in the library of BabyShell to a local language. The docking station functions with simple USB connection. Software and content can be updated using the Arduino IDE. This can also be used to stimulate users to access MHN services and facilities, offering the users the opportunity to get new content (when appropriate) every time they visit the Health Facility.


Team's Location


Team's Occupation


Team Members

Maurizio Bricola, Tim Cheung, Alexander Jongeling, Paul Bakker, Kees Hogenhout, Gerard Hogenhout, Maurizio Bricola

Focus Area(s)

Diagnosis/Treatment/Referral, Behavior Change, Data Collection/Data Insight

UNICEF Pillar(s)

Health, Education, HIV/AIDS, Nutrition

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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