Wearables for Good

Design Takes on Some of the "World's Greatest Challenges"

They’re great examples of how design can make a difference in the world. Two new products have won the 2015 Wearables for Good challenge—beating hundreds of submissions from 46 countries.

SoaPen was created by students from India and South Korea who met at Parsons School of Design. SoaPen is a wearable and portable soap that encourages children to wash their hands to reduce the risk of catching and spreading diseases such as pneumonia or diarrhea that kill millions of youngsters every year. “Our shared belief in the potential of good design to bring a positive change in the world kept us together in New York for the summer of 2015 to collaborate for the Wearables for Good challenge.”

The SoaPen device is supported by a free mobile app that provides teachers with innovative techniques to incorporate personal hygiene using soap in the existing academic curriculum.

“The fact that so many lives could be saved just by encouraging handwashing was a novel idea and it dictated our design ideation,” say the creators.

Khushi Baby is a necklace that stores a child’s immunization record using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. It was created by young designers based in the United States and India.

Wearables for Good is led by UNICEF, partnering with frog design, which has IDSA members, and The Architecture for the Digital World, known as ARM. The challenge was open to anyone with ideas, including students, designers, entrepreneurs, makers, engineers and technologists. “When we work together, the social impact, design and tech communities can help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges,” say organizers.