smart technology

Watch: How a revolutionary new bangle from Bangladesh protects pregnant women

Sensors on the bangle protects women from dangerous situations, and send regular prenatal care reminders.

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A smart new bangle from Bangladesh adds a whole different meaning to the idea of wearable jewellery.

COEL, short for Carbon Monoxide Exposure Limiter, looks just like another piece of trendy jewellery. Except that it;’s been developed for maternal wellness and prenatal care by Grameen Intel Social Business Limited (GISB), a collaboration between Intel Corporation and Grameen Trust.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In 2015, the number of deaths was roughly 3,03,000. And think about this: approximately 4 million women and children’s deaths are attributed annually to indoor gas exposure. This number could be significantly reduced by ensuring easier access to proper health information and preventing exposure to harmful gases.

COEL does exactly that.

It could prove to be particularly useful to women in rural areas who have little or no access to healthcare facilities and lack sufficient knowledge to protect themselves and their child. COEL is made of highly durable plastic with a special state-of-the-art sensor that can detect the level of carbon monoxide in the air, from burning wood, charcoal or animal dung, while also being water and dust resistant.

If the bangle detects harmful levels of carbon monoxide near a pregnant woman, the device beeps and flashes red, and a recorded voice recommends opening windows and doors or moving to a safe area. It requires no internet connectivity and is equipped with a battery that lasts 10 months – covering the entire duration of the pregnancy.

This revolutionary device is also programmed to utter about 80 pregnancy-related wellness messages, around two per week. The messages are designed to provide imperative information on following a proper diet, vaccinations, cramps, convulsions, when to see a doctor and preparation for the delivery, and can be customised according the wearer’s pregnancy dates. The messages have been translated by GISB into Bangla for local women; the company plans to customise the device to speak more languages before launching the product in other countries.

This smart gadget has already been put on initial trials in India, while nearly 5,000 bangles were distributed to women in rural Bangladesh. The feedback was positive – the bangle was even compared to “a trusted friend”.

One of the focal points of the project, according to Pavel Hoq, chief operation officer of GISB, was to ensure affordability. Each bangle will cost about Tk 1,000-1,200 (approximately Rs 800). GISB wrote on its Facebook page that a commercial launch is expected in a couple of months.

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From Indian pizzas in San Francisco to bhangra competitions in Boston

A guide to the Indian heart of these American cities.

The United States of America has for long been more than a tourist destination for Indians. With Indians making up the second largest immigrant group in the USA, North American cities have a lot to offer to the travel weary Indian tourist. There are umpteen reasons for an Indian to visit vibrant education and cultural hubs like Boston and San Francisco. But if you don’t have a well-adjusted cousin to guide you through the well-kept Indian secrets, this guide to the Indian heart of Boston and San Francisco should suffice for when you crave your fix.

Boston

If you aren’t easily spooked, Boston is the best place to be at in October due to its proximity to Salem. You can visit the Salem Witch Village to learn about present-day wiccans and authentic witchcraft, or attend séances and Halloween parades with ghosts, ghouls and other frightening creatures giving you a true glimpse of America during Halloween. But the macabre spirit soon gives way to a dazzling array of Christmas lighting for the next two months. The famed big Christmas trees are accompanied by festive celebrations and traditions. Don’t miss The Nutcracker, the sugar-laced Christmas adventure.

While it upholds its traditions, Boston is a highly inclusive and experimental university town. It welcomes scores of Indian students every year. Its inclusiveness can be gauged from the fact that Berklee College of Music released a well-received cover of AR Rahman’s Jiya Jale. The group, called the Berklee Indian Ensemble, creates compositions inspired by Indian musical styles like the Carnatic thillana and qawwali.

Boston’s Bollywood craze is quite widespread beyond the campuses too. Apple Cinemas in Cambridge and Regal Fenway Cinemas in Fenway can be your weekly fix as they screen all the major upcoming Bollywood movies. Boston tends to be the fighting ground for South Asian Showdowns in which teams from all over the North-Eastern coast gather for Bollywood-themed dance offs. The Bhangra competitions, especially, are held with the same energy and vigour as back home and are open to locals and tourists alike. If nothing else, there are always Bollywood flash mob projects you can take part in to feel proudly desi in a foreign land.

While travellers love to experiment with food, most Indian travellers will agree that they need their spice fix in the middle of any foreign trip. In that respect, Boston has enough to satisfy cravings for Indian food. North Indian cuisine is popular and widely available, but delicious South Indian fare can also be found at Udupi Bhavan. At Punjab Palace, you can dig into a typical North Indian meal while catching a Bollywood flick on one of their TVs. Head to Barbecue International for cross-continental fusion experiments, like fire-roasted Punjabi-style wings with mint and chilli sauce.

Boston is prominent on the radar of Indian parents scouting for universities abroad and the admission season especially sees a lot of prospective students and parents looking for campus tours and visits. To plan your visit, click here.

San Francisco

San Francisco is an art lover’s delight. The admission-free Trolley Dances, performed in October, focus on engaging with the communities via site-specific choreographies that reflect the city’s cultural diversity. Literature lovers can experience a Dickensian Christmas and a Victorian holiday party at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, a month-long gala affair starting in November.

As an Indian, you’ll be spoilt for choice in San Francisco, especially with regards to food. San Francisco’s sizeable Indian population, for example, has several aces hidden up its sleeve. Take this video by Eater, which claims that the ‘Indian’ pizza at Zante’s Restaurant is the city’s best kept secret that needs outing. Desi citizens of San Francisco are big on culinary innovation, as is evident from the popularity of the food truck Curry Up Now. With a vibrant menu featuring Itsy Bitsy Naan Bits and Bunty Burrito and more, it’s not hard to see why it is a favourite among locals. Sunnyvale, with its large concentration of Indians also has quirky food on offer. If you wish to sample Veer Zaara Pizza, Dabangg Pizza or Agneepath Pizza, head to Tasty Subs & Pizza.

There are several Indian temples in Sunnyvale, Fremont and San Jose that also act as effective community spaces for gatherings. Apart from cultural events, they even hold free-for-all feasts that you can attend. A little-known haven of peace is the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. Their Anjaneya World Cafe serves delicious mango lassi; the beverage is a big hit among the local population.

If you’re looking for an Indian movie fix during your travels, the San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival’s theme this year is Bollywood and Beyond. Indian film enthusiasts are in for a treat with indie projects, art-house classics, documentaries and other notable films from the subcontinent being screened.

San Francisco’s autumn has been described as ‘Indian summer’ by the locals and is another good season to consider while planning a trip. The weather lends more vigour to an already vibrant cultural scene. To plan your trip, click here.

An Indian traveller is indeed spoilt for choice in Boston and San Francisco as an Indian fix is usually available just around the corner. Offering connectivity to both these cities, Lufthansa too provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its India-bound flights and flights departing from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.