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.