A wrist wearable with built-in sensory technology will record (data capture) effective means of hand washing for sanitation, and transfer (transmit) this data to a mains device.

What is it?

Upon initially ascertaining knowledge of this highly vehement UNICEF Innovation and partnered challenge, personal comprehension perceived a ‘wearable’ as being apparent; an ubiquitous item of form which in some manner is capable of adhering to and/or consistently interacting with a living body.

Furthermore it is understandable that we as entrants would be all utilising the expertise and resources from all three participating partners. Therefore with consideration of safe drinking water and sanitation/ hygiene, first thoughts reflected a smart-wrist wearable device, which is in follow up to an additional client based project directed towards the alert/response focal category, to eliminate the threat of human trafficking (as such a proposed product with another team member). The advent/purpose/function of this item, from this point referred to as ‘wrist-ware’, and in its most simplistic means provides the distinct opportunity to educate, encourage and entertain children within underserved communities, reflecting the highest degree of care and consideration towards safe water and that necessary actioned affect of hygienic hand washing

In additional regard, we’re aiming to increase their life expectancy and quality (of life), therefore i anticipate strongly this device as essentially being a life saver; literally, through the action of hand washing with soap. In terms of ‘what is it’ personally, having recently begun an industrial design consultancy after experiences throughout Asia, this is one prominent area I would love to address, solving real world problems through design and associated thought processes. With this distinct project opportunity and consideration of the focal target market, being the underprivileged and less fortunate in Africa (and potential for other such areas whether it be more prominently rural India, SE Asia, etc), I very much support and recommend an initiative and introduction of such product development surpassing that of the western world by further advancing technology and rapid uptake for such consumers, implementing a cradle to cradle system, utilising natural resources and individuals, if available, and providing them the greatest opportunity in our time and from past generations, to very strongly compete internationally and raise their standards of living, most deservingly and without hesitation.

I believe the West is not always correct, is not always the greatest leaders, and in consideration of cultural differences, etc, we are in the greatest position to help those in the most dire situations, and I love having had this opportunity, together with my passion, for potentially working with UNICEF, frog and ARM, to deliver, not just in the immediate but for long term throughout my career. One such relevant aspect that intrigues me is the position and operation of defecating, and prominent differences from again the Western world, as I personally experience, by siting on a toilet, to those in India and Asia, whereby squatting has now been identified as the most natural and harmless motion of a typical daily activity. Whether during sitting there presents a plausible risk of colorectal cancer, or the physical impossibility to compress the cecum, a most natural function, this demonstrates that there is great potential to learn from all others, and as such once these wearables are addressed and implemented in such areas of Africa, etc, has the potential of being introduced into the Western worlds, where profit is considered a higher margin of success, yet suitably and aesthetically meeting form and functional requirements.

How is it used?

As a ‘wearable’, the ‘wrist-ware’ unit is designed in the form of a typical bracelet, or as such the Nike Fuelband/ Jawbone UP, and is to be distributed to each child in a classroom (or at home, if unavailable at class, yet needs one to initially supervise and teach the child), whereby the wear the unit around their wrist, as in typical fashion. However as an additional feature, there may be a standalone unit within the school, whether at the entrance door, or other location in the classroom, that plays a role in actively sensing each ‘wrist-ware’, and recording vial information based on each user’s hand wash for effectiveness.

The ‘wrist-ware’ is to be operated within an existing environment, using existing infrastructure and therefore no alterations or change to the tap system, etc, and hence reducing costs, working within already established community initiatives and systems, and effectively meeting some of the UNICEF Innovation guidelines.

What technologies does it incorporate?

Each device will operate similarly to the common Nike Fuelband/ Jawbone UP wearable, etc, whereby built-in sensory technology will record (data capture) effective means of hand washing for sanitation, and transfer (transmit) this data to a mains device. Such information may (dependent on further consideration, in specific focus to associated costs and necessity) translate to a digital board/ display that will represent an interactive game for the children, in a competitive yet efficient and fun environment and means based upon the effectiveness of their hand washing.

How does it work?

Each child wears the ‘wrist-ware’ on their wrist, which actively communicates to an independent digital board/ display (as deserved above). There are a number of options, whereby the teacher can hand out a ‘soap pod’ each time a child needs to wash their hands, or the child can pick one closely to the taps. One of the most significant contributing factors if for each soap pod to be naturally dissolvable; whether an advanced surfactant cleaning compound, being organic, using bio-surfactants (as are currently under development within laboratory environments through the use of bacteria), or even soap nut heels, which are a proven, natural means of cleansing.

The ‘wrist-ware’ monitors the amount of friction, use of soap and thoroughness of washing over each hand and wrist, to detect and communicate the effectiveness of a single wash. Time of wash and effectiveness in the use of each soap pad will digitally communicate to the board/ display, and increase with performance, thereby providing an activity of competition between each child, and may offer an end of each week reward system, as an suggested example.

Who uses it?

Each child will wear the device, ideally for the entire school period each day, with digital feedback presented, or transferred to the board as mentioned above, allowing for teacher access, yet also to be distributed to a mains organisation, as such UNICEF or otherwise, to keep record and monitor the actual practice of effective, safe hand washing. Dependent on the student’s age group, and through research and discussion with local baby/ child nurseries, it is known that most 2 and 3 year olds can turn a tap on themselves, after being taught, and 3 to 5 year olds having no major problems at all, however again can be dependent on style of tap (one such nursery owner recommended ‘flip up’ ones for kids). Again through such research and feedback (at least within the developed cities within Australia), young kids are taught to wash their hands with their carer/minder around 12 months old after messy play, meals and toilet change. For 2-3yo the repetition, skill and reasoning is increased; and by 4-5 no issues themselves. Typically songs, poems, posters, counting, and role modelling, in addition to sometimes games or more intentional teaching, is practiced to educate and enforce such an activity of hand washing.

However as further discussed with one individual, who actually owns a nursery and spent considerable time in a third world environment, namely Vanuatu she recounted that they often start such at 4 years old, getting the child to wash at school and at home, yet concern for those that dont attend school. Changing cultural habits is incredibly difficult, challenging, yet rewarding, however it is also important to target parents/guardians and educate them of the value in hand washing. Again as described by the nursery owner, kids and essentially kids anywhere in the world, loving the value of fun, and as such playing in/with water, additionally with soap to make bubbles, is an entertaining activity, yet a major consideration in the third world considering lack of water, and therefore a most precious commodity.

Hence the proposed ‘wrist-ware’ may be given to each child for a number roof years, updating the intensity and activities of play involved, focusing on volume of water use, and to be returned to the head of school for redistribution after lessons have been confidentially learnt. The information gathered will be a valid resource for the future and to be distributed amongst other third world areas, and furthermore may be able to implement the same, or a more advanced unit within the schooling systems in developed nations, effectively eliminating very early deaths of young children due to contraction of water-borne bacterial disease, which is an absolutely phenomenal achievement, and something I very much would love to be part of, gaining self pride and value as an industrial design engineer.

Why does it help?

The problem of hand washing is solved through the introduction of soap pods, together with a wearable unit attached to each child’s wrist, used and maintained as a daily object that relays vital information, in addition to providing a game play system; something that will further encourage and allow for a long term exposure to the exercise of soap based hand washing.


Team's Location


Team's Occupation


Team Members

Jack Michael

Focus Area(s)

Behavior Change, Data Collection/Data Insight

UNICEF Pillar(s)

Health, Education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Social Inclusion

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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